Saudi Arabia, GCC to be connected by ultra-fast tube transportation system

Bader Al-Asaker, secretary-general of the Misk Foundation, and Virgin Hyperloop One founder Josh Giegel at the signing ceremony in Riyadh on Thursday.
Updated 18 November 2017
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Saudi Arabia, GCC to be connected by ultra-fast tube transportation system

RIYADH: The entire Gulf region will be connected through an ultra-fast tube transportation system, which will operate at a velocity of 1,100 km per hour.
Founder of US-based Virgin Hyperloop One, Josh Giegel spoke to Arab News on Thursday soon after he signed an agreement with the MiSK Foundation for an ultra-fast tube transportation system and to train Saudi youths on engineering and technical skills.
On behalf of the Misk Foundation, the agreement was inked by Bader Al-Asaker, secretary-general of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Philanthropic Foundation, known as the Misk Foundation.
Giegel said that the proposed ultra-fast tube transportation means that a vehicle would run through a tube at a velocity of 1,100 km for an hour, which could quickly connect countries in the region. It will be two to three times faster and cheaper than the high-speed train, he added.
He said the details of the project such as routes of operations inside as well as outside the Kingdom will be discussed with the Saudi parties shortly.
He added that such ultra-fast transportation is also ideal for inland transport.
Within a span of two years, Giegel said Hyperloop One has assembled a team of more than 300 world-class experts, and built a campus in downtown Los Angeles, a test and safety site in the Nevada desert, and a 100,000-sq-ft. machine and tooling shop in North Las Vegas.
Pointing out the interest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in empowering Saudi youths under the Vision 2030 program, Giegel added that his company has agreed to offer internships for Saudi youths in Los Angeles and train technicians and engineers in relevant fields. “We are ready to train them in their own fields and update them with the latest technology in the digital world.”


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.