US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies on Tuesday said that it has proposed to link Mumbai and Pune with its ultra-high speed transport system. The company has submitted a proposal in this regard with Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, chairman Bibop Gresta said.
Once it gets approval, Hyperloop will do a feasibility study in six to eight months. The company says it can start operations in 38 months.
“India is the perfect mix of high-density, lack of infrastructure and political willingness. We are talking about a feasibility study which can become a real track once the study is positive. If the government wants to do it, we are ready,” Gresta said in an interview.
Hyperloop is working to develop transportation systems where pods zip across vacuum tubes at a top speed of about 1,300 km per hour. According to Gresta, building a track would cost $40 million per km.
“The cost depends on the location. To be generic, it will be $40 million per km. But it is one-fourth of high-speed rail. When you consider investment in infrastructure, you also consider how fast you can recoup it. This investment can be recouped in eight years,” he said.
Hyperloop is in discussions with about 20 countries to launch a project. It has already signed agreements with Slovakia, Nigeria, Abu Dhabi and the state of California in the US.
Apart from a connector between Mumbai and Pune, the company is also considering four other routes. Gresta declined to reveal more details on the routes but said the company is yet to approach the Centre on these routes.
The first Japanese bullet train, which will cover the 508km distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in 2 hours at about 350 kmph, may see the light of day by 2025. The cost of the project is about Rs.98,000 crore, or about $15 billion, which, of course, does not include operation and maintenance costs.