The chairman and co-founder of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Bibop G Gresta, recently gave an interview to the Times of India while in Bengaluru (India) for the Carnegie Global Technology Summit. Some of the bits & pieces seemed worth discussing here.
First off, Gresta noted that deployment costs depend to a great degree on where the technology is being deployed, but he also said, “generically speaking, it would be about $40 million per kilometer” for this first deployment.
Gresta also claimed that first deployment would likely be in Abu Dhabi, which is not surprising considering earlier news on the subject. The chairman did note, though, that the firm is in talks with 20 different countries, and that it’s just a matter of who pulls the trigger first. Or: “whoever gives us land first, we will go there,” as Gresta put it.
Very interestingly, the statement was made that, following permit approval, deployment would take “only” around 38 months. Again, not surprising, but worth making note of.
Here are some other choice cuts from that interview:
“We are in negotiations with the Indian government. I met surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari, and separately Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley. It ended up in a proposal which is lying on their desk to evaluate. We are ready to move forward. We have given three options: we build it for government, or we build it in public-private model, or we build it on our own at our cost if we are given the land. …
“It is not only faster, it is more efficient. The bullet train is not a system that can be profitable in any way: it costs too much money, consumes too much energy, and is very inefficient. Above 500 km/hour for trains, according to aerodynamic principles, air becomes like liquid. It is like a wall of water coming at you and there are lots of safety issues. …
“I was expecting more resistance. Governments have passed from a phase of ‘it’s cool to have you and to take a selfie with you so we can show we are innovative and let’s analyse your technology’ to saying ‘oh my god it’s happening and let’s jump on to this’. That shift has happened in 3 years. We are now in negotiations with 20 countries. We have signed with Slovakia, Nigeria, Abu Dhabi, and California. Abu Dhabi is putting money in the feasibility study.”
While the bit about bullet trains isn’t “untrue,” the Hyperloop technology has yet to show itself as being commercially viable, and hasn’t been shown to be useful in other ways as of yet either. So… we’ll have to wait and see which approach/technology proves more useful. Interesting interview, though.
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