The Future of Transport – Hyperloop. A dream or a close reality?
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes is what it takes to travel by train from London to Edinburgh. However, what if you could cover this 530km-long distance in 29 minutes instead? Or to put things in a little more familiar perspective, imagine a 15-minute journey from London to Leeds.
Image source: Hyperloop One / One Youtube.
It is not a flight of fantasy coming straight from a science-fiction movie, but an entirely new transportation system. The hyperloop is currently under the development of several independent companies and start-ups around the world. This cutting-edge technology uses magnetic levitation and electric propulsion to thrust passenger pods through a vacuum tunnel at incredible velocities, making the transportation up to 10 times faster than traditional railways.
One of the most promising designs was achieved by the Virgin Hyperloop One, whose two employees Sara Luchian and the company’s CTO Josh Giegel made history on 8th of November this year by successfully completing the first passenger test ride. Later on, Mr Giegel described this achievement as a “one giant leap towards the ultimate dream."
Image source: Hyperloop Interactive Map / Daily Mail
Moreover, only days after the successful passenger test drive, a South Korean hyperloop managed to hit the top speed of 1019km/h (633mph). According to the Hyperloop TT CEO Dirk Ahlborn, due to relatively minor regulatory hurdles and ease of obtaining planning permissions, South Korea is expected to be the first country in the world to introduce its first hyperloop mass transit system.
The new transportation invention is becoming a hot topic in the industry. Richard Branson, whose addition to the Hyperloop One board in 2017 resulted in a change of the brand name to the Virgin Hyperloop One, is not the only prominent figure trying to revolutionise the way we commute. In fact, the most known entrepreneur of our times, Elon Musk was the first to start the trend by releasing a white paper on an alpha-design of the hyperloop in 2013.
However, because of a busy schedule, he couldn’t focus on the project. Instead, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO allowed the first design for an open-source access contributing to the rapid development in the field worldwide.
Since then, significant milestones have been achieved in the field, and the technology has fundamentals to become a very lucrative investment, especially as it slowly approaches the most rapid phase of growth.
With contracts to be signed and plans approved across the world, massive constructions will begin attracting loads of capital. Unfortunately, there is no simple way for retail investors to include hyperloop in their portfolio at the moment, but there is hope. Both The Boring Company (Musk’s hyperloop investment) and the Virgin Hyperloop One expressed an interest in raising both private and public funds in the future. Hence, the IPOs are still conceivable.
For instance, an eager investor might consider the close ties of Tesla and The Boring Company. If hyperloop succeeds in the USA, then its revenue streams and plans for the electric automaker can add to its financial credibility of Tesla and boost its share price even beyond the recent highs.
Image Source: Kyle Cothern / Hyperloop-One
The investments in infrastructure development have been academically and empirically confirmed to boost economic growth, eliminate poverty and reduce inequalities. With a global shift towards sustainability, the first new mode of mass transportation after 100 years can fuel the economies and create tremendous investing opportunities.
After all, the development of railways was the most significant factor allowing for trade and business among the states, eventually making the USA the biggest economy in the world. It was nothing but the railways that connected countries within Europe after World War II after establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The final result of the strong international cooperation and tightening business ties was the only economic and monetary union (EMU) in the world – The European Union, which was recently abandoned by The United Kingdom.
Maybe the hyperloop will connect the world again, just like the railways in the past, adding the fuel to the economies to thrive again, one more time.