The Government of Canada is officially looking into Hyperloop technology.
According to a Transport Canada tender, the government is requesting professional services for a transportation consultant to evaluate some of Hyperloop’s claims.
Hyperloop is described as a new intercity transportation concept and would see the time of a trip between Montreal and Toronto cut down to about 40 minutes.
“Promoters are engineering the design to provide travellers with a travel mode featuring very high speeds, fixed guideways above and below ground, and capsule-like vehicles called pods, propelled within a network of looped sealed partial-vacuum tubes,” reads the Request for Proposal (RFP).
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“Promoters claim that this developing technology can be constructed and operated at a cost and installation footprint less than other existing technologies such as High Speed Rail or Maglev (magnetic levitation technology that uses two sets of magnets to elevate the train above the tracks and move it forward).”
Transport Canada is commissioning the study of the Hyperloop, so it can be “better informed on the technical, operational, economic, safety, and regulatory aspects of the Hyperloop and understand its construction requirements and commercial feasibility.”
The RFP also requests to look into the safety of the tubes, and Transport Canada hopes to have a “high-level overview” in the end.
The proposal does state that the Hyperloop technology is not yet proven but there have been a number of test facilities around the world that have been created to test the “Hyperloop theories of very low pressurized tubes, passenger capsules, elevation, propulsion, energy generation and distribution, and passenger ride quality.”
The government also says that the advantages of the Hyperloop system have not been tested in real world applications.
And the Canadian government initiating a study is good news, says Transpod’s co-founder and CEO, Sebastien Gendron.
“It’s a positive sign that the federal government is taking this seriously,” Gendron told Daily Hive.
Founded in 2015, TransPod is a Toronto-based startup that is “building the world’s leading Hyperloop system to disrupt and redefine commercial transportation.”
Gendron said they have been working with the government over the past three years, particularly Transport Canada.
“The regulatory aspect is key for us as we don’t have any framework as of today,” he said. “We need to define that framework to be able to have all the authorization to commercialize the product in the next few years.”
The CEO also said they were concerned that the Canadian government would get left behind in the global discussions around Hyperloop.
Transpod has worked with the European Union in 2018, and this month, Gendron said the US has also began setting up a committee to work on regulatory aspects for Hyperloop.
“The timing is good and it’s interesting to see Canada is moving within the same timeframe,” said Gendron.
In May 2016, Hyperloop One (now called Virgin Hyperloop One) held a global competition to narrow down possible cities where the company could build one of its first routes in the world. Then, they revealed Toronto to Montreal as one of its top choices to build the first hyperloop high-speed travel system.
According to Hyperloop One at the time, the proposed route between the two cities connects Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto and would “create a Canadian mega region as much as a quarter of the country’s population.”
If the system is built commuters would be able to travel from:
- Toronto to Montreal (640 km) in 39 minutes
- Toronto to Ottawa (450 km) in 27 minutes
- Ottawa to Montreal (190 km) in 12 minutes
The system works by loading passengers and cargo into a pod and accelerating gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube.
The pod then lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to the ultra-low aerodynamic drag.
With files from Simran Singh