The Canadian company Transpod announced Tuesday that it has raised more than half a billion dollars to launch the construction of a 300-kilometre very high-speed train line between Edmonton and Calgary. Behind this announcement, the start-up is above all taking the lead in the concept of the hyperloop, which is supposed to revolutionize the world of transport.
Originally, the hyperloop is a futuristic idea of very high speed “train” launched in 2013 by the boss of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk. The latter has also organized a competition for several years which should allow the project to be implemented.
The concept is to allow a kind of train, or capsule, to reach a speed of 1200km/h thanks to propulsion on air cushions, magnetized in vacuum tubes. For the American billionaire, the hyperloop could thus become “a fifth means of transport”, after the car, the train, the boat and the plane.
Until now, the various projects around the world for the implementation of this new means of transport seemed more or less at a standstill, but Transpod could well have taken a major step.
>> Listen to CQFD’s report on the Hyperloop:
Biggest funding for this technology
In the application of this technology, Transpod of course has competitors, but the Canadian company is the first to have succeeded in securing financing of such magnitude.
This first envelope of half a billion dollars should enable the company to complete a first section that will connect the airport to downtown Edmonton. Work should begin in 5 years for commissioning by 2031.
With this announcement, the leaders are now hoping for a ripple effect from other private funds, because to finance the entire line between Edmonton and Calgary, the total budget is estimated at $19 billion.
A Swiss project still in the works
But if Transpod seems to have taken a step ahead, rivals still hope to do well in this race for the supersonic train.
For the development of the hyperloop, there are currently seven competitors, four of which are European. The companies are based in Spain, the Netherlands, Poland but also in Switzerland.
Indeed, the EPFLoop-Swisspod project, developed as its name suggests within the framework of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, is one of the few still active.
>> Review the 7:30 p.m. report:
A transportation revolution?
In the end and in theory, the hyperloop project could well represent a revolution in the world of transport. It could allow travel with the safety of a train and the speed of an airplane, without being dependent on the weather, without noise pollution and with very few CO2 emissions.
Innovation could also create jobs. In Canada, the province of Alberta, which is betting on the Transpod hyperloop, expects significant local benefits. According to a feasibility study, the construction of this first line should create up to 140,000 jobs.
For their part, the refractories are wondering above all if the Hyperloop project really responds to the problems of transport congestion. Because one of the greatest criticisms addressed to these projects is that they cannot match the transport capacity of the railway.
>> Review this other topic from 7:30 p.m. which looks back on the organized hyperloop competition organized by Elon Musk: