Competition For Hyperloop Increases As Canadian Startup Takes On Elon Musk


A Canadian startup, TransPod is the newest contender in the race to build a super-fast transportation system to rival futuristic projects backed by Elon Musk and British tycoon Richard Branson, Bloomberg reports.

What is the plan?

TransPod wants to attract $50 million for its own version of Hyperloop technology, designed to ferry passengers at speeds of more than 1,000 kilometers (622 miles) an hour. The Toronto-based company plans to build a half-size prototype near Limoges in central France by next year. Chief executive officer Sebastien Gendron, claims that this idea is better than the one put forth by Elon Musk.

CEO, TransPod

Other players in the market

The tube-based transport technology known as Hyperloop is gaining momentum after Musk first theorized it in 2013. It has since sprouted a number of competing versions aimed at linking cities at far faster speeds than existing bullet trains in Europe, Japan, and China.

Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop One is testing in Nevada, while a California-based company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies also plans to build a test track in southern France.

Musk’s SpaceX is organizing hyperloop design competitions after building a one-mile long system near its California headquarters.

The technology behind TransPod’s creation

CEO of TransPod claimed that although the Musk’s idea is brilliant it is flawed in nature. His company offers a better alternative.

“We have a more modest, but also cheaper and regulation-oriented approach,”

he said.

The company’s patented technology will use magnetic propulsion and electrified tracks to move pods through a 2-mile-long vacuum tunnel designed to reduce friction.

The pods would look similar to airplanes without wings. Musk’s idea had planned to transport pods on air bearings, a method used by industry to move heavy objects.

TransPod promises that its product would be cheaper to what Musk had proposed.

Costs would be contained by using existing technology for the plane fuselage and when compared to pressurized cabins and could work out to about 20 million euros ($25 million) per kilometer, or a third cheaper than a high-speed train to connect Paris to Frankfurt, he said.

The pods would be tested in the Limoges test track. It is being designed to allow pods to run as fast as 600 kilometers an hour, which is more than France’s fast TGV train, but slower than the ultimate goal of more than 1,000 kilometers an hour. Airplanes cruise at around 850 kilometers an hour.

TransPod is looking for sites including the ones near Orleans in France and Calgary, Alberta to build a full-size model by 2021.

“We’re going to disrupt everything,”

Gendron said.

The company claims that its product would lead to a transformation in the transport sector that would affect airplane manufacturers as well as train operators like Siemens AG and Alstom SA.

“Our approach will outlast the competition. We’re in it for the marathon,”

Gendron said.

Also Read: Must Read: 3 Rules For Gaining Courage, By Elon Musk.