Exclusive Interview: Virgin Hyperloop Plans 3 Routes In India, Generate 18 Lakh Jobs | Ticket Price Same As Car Fuel!
There are intense speculations and expectations from Virgin Hyperloop, which has some massive plans for Indian operations.
Recently, Tanay Manjrekar became the 1st person in the world to test out how Hyperloop will work and operatae. We did an exclusive with Tanay, where he shared his views and experiences related to Hyperloop transportation.
Now, we are back with another exclusive interview, this time with Naushad Oomer, Director of Operations – India, Virgin Hyperloop.
Checkout what’s happening with Virgin Hyperloop and how soon can we witness this epic mode of transportation in India!
Question: What are the plans for the Hyperloop in India?
Given our holistic and long-term investment commitment to India, we have several plans in the pipeline. Through the feasibility study undertaken with the Bangalore International Airport Ltd., we are evaluating potential hyperloop routes connecting to and from Kempegowda International Airport based on their technical and economic viability. If deemed feasible, we would request a go-ahead from the Government of Karnataka to proceed in compliance with relevant procurement policies. A detailed project report will be undertaken thereafter.
The proposed Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project, which connects the two cities in under 30 minutes, instead of the three-plus hours via road will be the largest privately funded transport infrastructure project in the country. The constant dialogue with the state government since the onset of the pandemic has been immensely helpful and we look forward to working with the administration to progress this project as the COVID situation improves.
In addition, we hope to expand on our relationship with the state of Punjab based on our MoU with the Punjab Transport Department signed in December 2019 and continue exploring opportunities in the northern parts of the country. We look forward to getting the opportunity to harness the tremendous potential to connect the entire subcontinent and have discussions with other states as well.
Question: The Hyperloop system in the video looks quite lavish! What will the cost of travelling be like? Will it be affordable for everyone?
We understand the simple logic that people won’t use the system if it is not affordable for them. That is the reason our goal is to build something that will expand opportunities for the masses in India – so that they can live in one city with their family and work in another. At this point in time that kind of high-speed means of transportation is not viable for most people. With hyperloop, the exact ticket price will vary for each route, but an excellent example of affordability is highlighted in a recent study which showed that riding hyperloop in Missouri, a Midwest American state, could cost less than the fuel needed to drive their car. We expect to provide a similar experience for the commuters in India.
Question: Do you think there is any scope for job creation in the future? In India and for Indians abroad?
Our feasibility study indicates that India can be a prime mover in hyperloop manufacturing and deployment. It has found that more than 70% of the components and the technology needed could be manufactured in India using existing infrastructure. For example, the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project would be the largest private infrastructure investment in Maharashtra, creating 1.8 million direct and indirect jobs and USD 36 billion in socio-economic benefits. We see India as an innovation hub, and I am confident there will be several partnership opportunities in the country.
Question: How long will it take for the Hyperloop system to be ready?
Globally, we are looking to be safety certified by 2025 and have a commercial route operational somewhere in the world by 2030.
Question: How will this help in environmental sustainability?
The battle against climate change is now an existential issue for cities across the globe. The world needs a new solution, so we have decided to create a new, shared, electric mobility model to help permanently reform the transportation industry, which today has some of the world’s highest carbon emissions.
It’s important to understand that unless there is a massive leap, the industry’s pollution is expected to almost double by 2050 – well above the carbon budget. By combining an ultra-efficient electric motor, magnetic levitation, and a low-drag environment, the Virgin Hyperloop system can reach airline speeds for 5-10x less energy (depending on route length) and can go faster than high-speed rail using less energy. On the Mumbai-Pune route, for example, the Virgin Hyperloop system could reduce local greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons (300 million pounds) annually.
Question: How many people will be seated in one pod? How much weight will it be able to carry?
Built in multiple configurations, Virgin Hyperloop’s pods can comfortably seat 16-28 passengers carrying light luggage. Despite this small vehicle size, the Virgin Hyperloop system will be able to transport thousands of passengers per hour, on-demand and directly to their destination. Convoying, wherein the pods can travel behind one another in the tube within milliseconds – akin to autonomous vehicles on a dedicated highway lane – is the reason behind this high throughput. Unlike train cars, the pods are not physically connected, enabling any individual pod to break away at its destination and “switch,” like a car taking an off-ramp on a highway.
Question: Is this a direct journey? Or will there be any halts on the way?
Designed to create an optimal passenger experience, hyperloop can transport passengers directly to their destination, with no intermediate stops along the way. Additionally, its on-demand routing feature offers them the flexibility to travel wherever and whenever they want to. With hyperloop, you’d be able to arrive at the portal minutes before your journey, booking a ticket on-demand, at a price point similar to a train ride. It thus eliminates the task of having to arrive at the airport two hours early, not having to plan weeks or months ahead, and not having to save up to buy a ticket.