Richard Branson announces Hyperloop plan for India

Virgin Hyperloop One, the futuristic transport startup backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, has announced plans for a superfast rail network linking India’s financial capital Mumbai to the city of Pune. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
0

Richard Branson announces Hyperloop plan for India

MUMBAI: Virgin Hyperloop One, the futuristic transport startup backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, has announced plans for a superfast rail network linking India’s financial capital Mumbai to the city of Pune.
The proposed hyperloop — which aims to deliver transport at near-supersonic speeds in sealed tubes — would reduce travel time between the Indian cities from 3 hours to around 25 minutes, the company said.
Branson said Sunday the company had signed a preliminary agreement with the Maharashtra state government to build the first phase of a hyperloop network that could eventually criss-cross India.
“I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century,” Branson said in a statement.
The proposed route would connect Mumbai’s secondary airport in Navi Mumbai with Pune city, located 150 kilometers away.
Branson, whose Virgin Group entered a partnership with California startup Hyperloop One in October, said a demonstration track would be built within two to three years of the final agreement.
The super-high-speed transport project would take a further five to seven years to complete before being ready to ferry 150 million passengers annually, the company said.
The technology, theorized by entrepreneur Elon Musk for rail transport at near-supersonic speeds, could transform Indian cities like Mumbai and Pune plagued by creaking infrastructure.
Experts say the proposed hyperloop system, though aspirational, could upon completion ease the load on overburdened road and rail networks in India.
Virgin Hyperloop One is working to develop a pod system that can travel at up to 750 miles per hour with better safety than passenger jets, and lower build and maintenance costs than high-speed trains.


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
0

EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.