It has been billed as the future of high-speed travel and now China is keen to get it up and running. Earlier this week, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced it would link up with the remote city of Tongren in impoverished Guizhou province to build this state-of-the-art transport system.
The decision is unlikely to go down well in the White House as HyperloopTT is a California-based company dealing in advanced technology.
Indeed, the plan to construct a 10-kilometer, or six-mile, track for its high-speed hyperloop network, which involves propelling capsules through vacuum-sealed tunnels, comes at a time when United States President Donald Trump is ratcheting up pressure on Beijing in a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
HyperloopTT is one of several ventures to take Telsa founder Elon Musk’s idea for a new type of transport system and turn it into a reality.
It has struck similar agreements with several other countries, with construction of its first capsules – intended to magnetically levitate in low friction tubes – underway at its innovation center in France.
“China leads the world in the amount of high-speed rail constructed by far, and now they are looking for a more efficient high-speed solution in hyperloop,” Bibop Gresta, the chairman of HyperloopTT, said in a press release.
“We have spent the past few years finding the right partners to work with in China and now, with a strong base network of relationships in place, we are ready to begin work to create the system,” he added.
Financing for the project may be hard to come by as Beijing takes aim at local government spending and a growing mountain of debt. But the Silicon Valley company stressed a public-private partnership deal with Tongren directly contributing 50% of the funds.
“HyperloopTT will be responsible for providing technology, engineering expertise, and essential equipment,” the company said, without providing further details.
– additional reporting AFP