The city of Tongren, in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou, has signed an agreement with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) to develop the futuristic tube-travel system envisaged by Elon Musk.
HyperloopTT and Tongren Transportation & Tourism Investment Group announced the agreement yesterday, saying HyperloopTT would provide technology, engineering expertise and equipment, while Tongren will be responsible for certification, the regulatory framework and construction of the system.
Tongren will supply 50% of the financing, with the rest coming from private finance, HyperloopTT said.
The two parties will define the route for the system.
The joint venture will build a 10-km test track in Tongren as part of the first phase, with the two parties co-owning any intellectual property developed during the project, according too state newspaper People’s Daily, reports Reuters.
Popularised by electric car magnate Elon Musk, the hyperloop concept envisages using magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, allowing pods carrying people and freight to whizz along at speeds of up to 750 miles (1,200 kms) per hour.
HyperloopTT is one of several companies racing to commercialise the concept.
This is the first hyperloop agreement with China and the third commercial agreement for HyperloopTT following announcements in Abu Dhabi and Ukraine earlier in 2018.
"We envision that Hyperloop will play into a bigger role of the Silk Road Economic Belt, connecting the region to the rest of the world," said Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.
"China spends over $300 billion annually on infrastructure to address their rapidly growing urban populations. Having worked alongside our government partners, Hyperloop has proven a viable solution for this immediate problem.
"Additionally, the unique topography of Tongren will allow us to refine our various construction methods with our partners."
Mayor of Tongren, Chen Shaorong, said the deal would "enlarge and strengthen the local economy" with high-tech industry and equipment manufacturing.
Image: Render showing a hyperloop transport capsule in China (HyperloopTT)