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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies with ‘efficient, cheaper’ model eyes Indian market

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which competes with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday with a “cheaper and more efficient” model than its fellow American competitor.

tech Updated: Mar 28, 2017 15:16 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Anirban Ghoshal
Hindustan Times
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies,Prime Minister Narendra Modi,Narendra Modi
Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that would propel a pod-like vehicle levitating through a tube-like track at more than the speed of a jet-propelled airplane.

The Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is pitching to enter the Indian market with a prototype that the company said would be “cheaper and more efficient” than its fellow American competitor’s model.

The Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One is costlier, more energy intensive and has a flawed approach, said Bibop G Gresta, the chairman of HTT, who is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

“Imagine if your Hyperloop could be more energy efficient, cheaper to use and easier to deploy.”

Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that would propel a pod-like vehicle levitating through a tube-like track at more than the speed of a jet-propelled airplane.

The system could be the future of transport — travelling from New Delhi to Mumbai in 70 minutes flat, or three times faster than a commercial flight.

The competing American companies have shown interest in selling their products to India.

Hyperloop One, which builds pods or capsules and tracks based on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s 2013 concept, has been in talks with the Indian government to develop the technology in the country. If successful, One’s capsule can do New Delhi-Mumbai in just over an hour.

Besides his appointment with Prime Minister Modi to discuss his company’s model, Gresta is expected to meet transport minister Nitin Gadkari and railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday.

HTT has submitted a proposal to Niti Aayog, the government’s think-tank, for its project and is awaiting its approval.

But Gresta said HTT’s participation would depend largely on the Indian government’s commitment to the transport system.

“We are expecting that the Indian government will pitch in half the money for the feasibility study that will cost nearly $1 to $1.5 million.”

Explaining the difference between his model and that of the rival, Gresta said HTT would use passive levitation technologies, in contrast to One’s active levitation that require high-voltage and uninterrupted supply of electricity.

“HTT requires a track made of aluminium and the capsule fitted with electromagnets in a certain assembly to operate with low quantities of electricity,” he said.

The company could even redo the Metro rail tracks in New Delhi to make them faster, if asked to.

“Laying the HTT will approximately cost somewhere between $20 and $40 million a kilometre,” Gresta said.

The cost of laying HTT lines would be high, though anti-pollution gains from the change should make up for the initial expenses, he reasoned. Also, 3D printing can help speed up the track-laying process to 100km a year.

Levitation is not the sole difference between HTT and Hyperloop One.

One is looking to raise money and come alone to the country, Gresta said, but HTT believes more in a partnership approach.

“We believe in lean manufacturing. We have already identified partners in India and want to work with them to create a transport system that will benefit the citizens of India,” he said.

HTT could announce its Indian partners soon.

The company has already been in talks with Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand governments. Andhra Pradesh has shown interest in setting up a test track of 30km, for which a proposal will be tabled shortly and a route feasibility study will be done.

The Jharkhand government is interested in developing a fast-track route connecting the state’s industrial corridor — Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro and Jamshedpur.

First Published: Mar 27, 2017 22:29 IST