In part two of its series about Europeans rivalling Elon Musk, Sifted take a deep dive into the world of ultra-fast travel in a tube. What are the advantages and disadvantages that European companies have in dominating this field over the coming decade?
The article explores this and questions, who are the startups racing to build the first hyperloop?
On the issue of regulation — with all its red tape and long timeframes — the article reports that it seems like a bizarre thing to call an advantage. But regulatory approval is one of the biggest hurdles for the development of hyperloop and the first region to have clear standards will be at an advantage.
Steve Carden, transport innovation lead at PA Consulting who worked with Virgin Hyperloop One, comments:
“All hyperloop companies would like a single determination of what good looks like — they would know what standard they have to build to. And having that level of certainty would help them make progress with investors.”
In some places, such as the UK, hyperloop construction would likely need a lot of tunnelling, which would mean spiralling costs. A recent study by the British Tunnelling Society concluded that despite some incremental improvements the cost of tunnelling will not reduce enough to make hyperloop economically viable.
Steve continues: “It is a very binary thing at the moment. Either you don’t do it at all, or you have to spend billions doing even a small route.”