Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Govt eyes Tesla’s hyperloop to connect Mumbai, Pune

Forget Bullet or MagLev trains, the Union government is eyeing a supersonic hyperloop transport system to connect Mumbai and Pune.

Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari during his visit to America in July visited Tesla Motors’s manufacturing plant near San Francisco.

During the meeting, apart from asking to invest in India and form joint ventures with Indian automobile companies, he evinced interest in the hyperloop system.

“Tesla officials were making a presentation for their supersonic transportation system and said that the project is yet to be executed. That’s is when I offered them that I will give you a corridor to implement this project. To begin with, they should get the technology to bridge Mumbai and Pune,” said Gadkari on Tuesday during Lokmat Infrastructure Conclave.

This technology was first proposed in 2013 by Elon Musk,

chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, which has revolutionised electric cars.

Musk, a maverick billionaire entrepreneur, also leads SpaceX that is looking to make space travel affordable. The hyperloop transportation system would ferry passengers in floating pods inside low-pressure tubes at speeds of over 1,200 km per hour.

On May 11, the first public test of the hyperloop system was held in Nevada desert in the US. The trial run was held at the top speed of 186.68 km per hour on a 1,000 metre (1 km) test track, when vehicle of metal glided at 2.5G force. However, a full-scale system is yet to be built by the California-based firm. “The distance between Mumbai and Nagpur (around 850 km) can be covered in just 35 minutes if this technology is implemented here,” added Gadkari.

In fact, Gadkari and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis have even deliberated about the possibility of the project in Maharashtra, which will become India’s first too.

But, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Maharashtra government or related government agencies in charge of Mumbai-Pune Expressway are yet to hear from Tesla, claimed Gadkari.

“Mr Gadkari and I had a brief discussion on getting Tesla’s near supersonic hyperloop transportation system to Maharashtra, but as the technology is not there even as a pilot project anywhere in the world including the US, so I asked him to let the technology developers have a pilot project first in their country. Once we see the results, we may be ready to have a pilot project here between Mumbai and Pune,” replied Fadnavis when asked about the finer details about the project.

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