Virgin Hyperloop One: Forget flying, India is planning to travel faster on ground, at 1,000 km an hour

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NEW DELHI: India is eyeing new technology to move faster, in fact faster than even a plane—and at 1/10 the air fare. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have signed deals with Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) to assess the possibility of developing hyperloops in these states. Hyperloop is a pod-based terrestrial transportation system which can carry passengers or freight through anear-vacuum tube at airline speeds. Though the ‘hyperloop’ concept is the brainchild of tech billionaire Elon Musk, there are many other startups developing pod-based transport through near-vaccum tubes.

VHO, which is backed by Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Group, claims it has built and tested a full-scale hyperloop system at its test track in the Nevada desert.

The hyperloop can take you from Navi Mumbai to Pune in 14 minutes instead of three hours it takes to travel by road. It can turn a trip of more than an hour into a five-minute ride between Amaravati and Vijayawada.

“The 100km line between Navi Mumbai and Pune will cost around Rs 26,000 crore, which is lower than the cost of an underground Metro,” said Nick Earle, senior vice president of VHO’s global field operations. “A Hyperloop line is built on columns or tunneled underground. There is negligible land acquisition for the project.”

The per km cost comes to Rs 260 crore, which is close to that of an elevated Metro line. Expenditure per kilometre on building an underground Metro corridor is around Rs 750 crore.

If India becomes an early adopter, all the manufacturing for the tubes, and related ecosystem such as an app store, IT platform, etc. would be done out of India, in line with the ‘Make in India’ programme of the government.

In addition to India, the company is working on projects in countries including the UAE, the US, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands.



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