Virgin Hyperloop One, backed by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, has inked an intent agreement with the Indian state of Maharashtra to construct a hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune.
When completed, the hyperloop route would connect central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai in 25 minutes and connect 26 million people.
According to an initial pre-feasibility study conducted by Virgin Hyperloop One, the Pune-Mumbai route could result in $55bn in socio-economic benefits over 30 years of operation.
The project will commence with a six-month in-depth feasibility study, which will examine and define the route alignment including environmental impact, the economic and commercial aspects of the route, the regulatory framework, and cost and funding model recommendations.
The feasibility study will build upon the findings of the pre-feasibility study inked in November 2017 between Virgin Hyperloop One and the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority.
The project will enter a procurement stage after the completion of the feasibility study to determine the public-private partnership model.
Construction on the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop route would commence following procurement and will be delivered in two phases.
The initial phase will include the construction of an operational demonstration track between two points on the route. The demonstration track will be built in two to three years from the signing of the agreement. It will be used as a platform for testing, certifying, and regulating the system for commercial operations
Work on the second phase of the full Pune-Mumbai route is set to be completed in five to seven years.
Furthermore, the route could be extended to connect central Pune with the New Pune International Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai with the industrial economic zones in Pune.
The 100% energy efficient system could reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 86,000 tons over 30 years.
Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said: “We have always believed that India would be a tremendous market for hyperloop. The Pune-Mumbai route is one of the strongest economic cases we have seen to-date.
“The state of Maharashtra has made a strong commitment to building the first hyperloop route in India. We are looking forward to partnering with the State as well as our partners to make the Pune-Mumbai route a reality.”
The new transportation system aims to reduce the travel time between the two cities to 25 minutes from the three hours at present.