A group of students at IIT-Madras and their professors have been studying the hyperloop project in depth— IN 2019, the group emerged among the top ten out of 1,600 global contestants in a hyperloop competition conducted by US industrialist Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Boosted by this, the ‘Avishkar’ project’ team has been working on developing an indigenous hyperloop technology. The team is sanguine of setting up a 400-metre loop in the upcoming new campus of the IIT, which will cost ₹10 crore, and then get the government and the industry to set up a 10-km demonstration track at an estimated cost of ₹400 crore.
The team’s mentor, Prof Sathya Chakravarthy, says that the costing is based on market estimates but could be brought down substantially with engineering techniques. The team is working on finding inexpensive alternatives to the type of steel used for the tube. Route optimisation could also help decrease costs.
According to the sources,the detailed project report, says that the major item of the costs is the tube, which is reckoned to account for $7 billion, out of the total estimated project cost of $7.4 billion. The total includes the cost of 24 pods at a million dollars apiece, but the report puts the cost of the ‘electro dynamic wheels’ that will make the pod rise at $360 million.
The report conjectures the 48-seater pod leaving a terminal every six minutes, taking 120 minutes for a two-way journey, giving time for passengers getting in and out. It takes the annual passenger load anywhere between 5 million and 8.2 million, depending upon the number of the everyday operational hours. At the present costing, a ticket could be priced at ₹4,000 for a one-way trip, before “cost optimisation”.