Equity partners sought for Hyperloop Transport Technologies

Hyperloop TT founder and chairman, Dirk Ahlborn, said during a keynote presentation at CCPPP conference in Toronto about the need for a revitalised case for Hyperloop worldwide

Hyperloop TT founder and chairman, Dirk Ahlborn, said during a keynote presentation at CCPPP conference in Toronto about the need for a revitalised case for Hyperloop worldwide, based on promising results of the Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study, to be released in full on December 17.

The study was a collaboration between HyperloopTT, Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and Transportation Economics and Management Systems, Inc, who had seen “No results like this in 30 years," Ahlborn told P3 Bulletin.

Initial results released include:

  • The creation of 900,000 jobs in Cleveland Ohio, over 25 years. This was modelled on King’s Cross Station, London UK, and includes associated infrastructure and the regeneration of the local economy across sectors.
  • Carbon emissions reduced by 143 million tons in comparison with current infrastructure.
  • Strong financial feasibility due to proposed funding structure and planned revenue streams from developing Hyperloop as a multi-use infrastructure project
  • Less regulatory hurdles due to the ability to use existing rights of way
  • Low maintenance costs due to a basic infrastructure design, with most technology inside the vehicle and moving parts remaining enclosed, away from the weather.
  • Low and subsidy-free operating costs due to automation. Taken with the above point, this is attractive to public institutions who at CCPPP placed a great emphasis on the importance of O&M and full life cycles within contracts.
  • Economic savings versus High Speed Rail owing to engineering design;
    1. Smaller infrastructure- building 4 meter tubes instead of 8 meter tunnels, leading to faster construction and less regulatory burden.
    2. Full system automisation, significantly reducing the risk of human error and thus improving bankability.
    3. Efficient passive magnetic levitation, running at 28kwh with associated infrastructure such as Solar built into the plans

When asked, Ahlborn answered that all models were based on consumer pricing from current equivalent public transit, incorporating the possibility of free consumer travel supported by Multi-use space.

He used the keynote as a pitch for future collaborations, in the form of equity partnerships. When pressed on how the infrastructure industry can help Hyperloop, he revealed; HyperloopTT are actively seeking to work with “Financiers, Tube Suppliers, Operators” and called for assistance with regulation and certification, Hyperloop’s “biggest hurdles”. Examples of recent partnerships include working with Munich Rees on insuring Hyperloop for the German Market.

While Hyperloop isn’t part of Ontario’s freshly announced CAD28bn transit plan, the company is opening an office in Toronto. Hyperloop says this is for the Great Lakes project initially, but it is clear how convenient this would be as a base for future regional collaboration. 

Regardless, there was certainly interest from other Public Bodies at the conference, with Thomas Fass, Assistant Hillsborough County Administrator, praising the pitch and signalling his interest with respect to the proposed Virgin Hyperloop One between Orlando and Tampa.

Ahlborn finally hinted at upcoming working partnership announcements in the UK, stating “there are lots of lines in the UK that could benefit from Hyperloop.” 

Could this reflect a decision to use existing rights of way and avoid the seemingly eternal complications of an HS2- style mega project, in favour of several smaller projects?