India’s first Hyperloop project will come up in Andhra Pradesh, connecting its city centres, Vijayawada and Amaravati. In this regard, Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) for developing the project.
The first of its kind project in India will use a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model with funding primarily from private investors. In its first phase, HTT will conduct six-month feasibility study, following which it will construct and build HTT’s first Hyperloop in India. The proposed hyperloop will cover 35 km distance between Vijayawada and Amaravati only in five minutes.
Hyperloop Technology is brainchild idea of technology entrepreneur Elon Musk who dubs it as fifth mode of transportation. It is system of magnetically levitating capsules (pods) that are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes. It envisages tube modular transport system that runs free of friction. It uses linear Induction motors in it to control speed of pods. It is still in trial stages in different countries and not been implemented for practical use anywhere in world yet.
Hyperloop is two-to-three times faster than fastest high-speed rail and claimed to have speeds even greater than commercial air travel. It has smaller civil engineering footprint, with no direct emissions or noise compared to railways. Hyperloop system’s capital cost per mile is 60% that of high-speed rail, and is less expensive to operate. Furthermore, Hyperloop departures could happen with a low frequency of a pod every 20 seconds which is not possible in railways.
It requires heavy investments and therefore effective public and private sector coordination is prerequisite for implementing it. It consumes high-power compared to railways. Technical challenges and accidents may hamper its progress.