Hyperloop project goes to China

Hyperloop tubes are displayed during the first test of the propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site in North Las Vegas, Nevada. (File photo AFP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Hyperloop project goes to China

BEIJING: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said Thursday it will team up with a southwestern Chinese city to build a new 10-kilometer (six-mile) test track for its high speed hyperloop transportation system.
California-based HyperloopTT is one of several ventures to take Elon Musk’s idea for a new type of transport system propelling capsules through vacuum-sealed tunnels and attempt to make it a reality.
It has struck similar agreements with several other countries, with construction of its first capsules — intended to magnetically levitate in low friction tubes — underway at its innovation center in France.
The remote city of Tongren in China’s impoverished Guizhou province will host the latest demonstration project, according to the plans.
“China leads the world in the amount of high-speed rail constructed by far, and now they are looking for a more efficient high speed solution in hyperloop,” HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta said in a press release.
“We have spent the past few years finding the right partners to work with in China and now, with a strong base network of relationships in place, we are ready to begin work to create the system,” he added.
Financing for the project may be hard to come by as Beijing takes aim at local government spending and a growing mountain of debt.
HyperloopTT said financing would come from a public-private partnership, with Tongren directly contributing 50 percent of the funds.
“HyperloopTT will be responsible for providing technology, engineering expertise, and essential equipment,” the company said, without providing further details.
Local Chinese media, citing the agreement, said Tongren and HyperloopTT would invest in the new local joint-venture building the demonstration track on a one-to-one basis.
State-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC), a major aerospace company, is also looking to pioneer the next generation of high-speed train technology in China, and last year announced a similiar hyperloop project in the city of Wuhan.


China’s car sales decline deepens, road ahead bumpy

Updated 27 min 38 sec ago
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China’s car sales decline deepens, road ahead bumpy

  • ‘Car sales in January continued to decline, and there was no sign of improvement’
  • China has been grappling with slowing economic growth as well as the fallout of trade frictions with the US

SHANGHAI: China’s automobile sales in January tumbled 15.8 percent from a year earlier, the country’s top auto industry association said on Monday, as the world’s largest auto market hits the skids with the slump in sales extending to the seventh month.
China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in an emailed statement to Reuters that sales dropped to 2.37 million vehicles last month. This follows a 13 percent drop in December and a 14 percent fall in November.
“Car sales in January continued to decline, and there was no sign of improvement. We estimate that February wholesales will also drop sharply” said Xu Haidong, CAAM assistant secretary general.
“The reason for the sales drop is still the slowing overall economy, and consumption decline in small and medium-sized cities” Xu said.
China has been grappling with slowing economic growth as well as the fallout of trade frictions with the United States, forces which contributed to its auto market contracting for the first time in more than two decades last year.
Beijing is now trying to persuade consumers to loosen their purse strings and has pledged to provide subsidies to boost rural sales of some vehicles and purchases of new energy vehicles.
“Q1 sales were good last year, so this year the industry expects to have negative growth in the first quarter” Yale Zhang, head of consultancy AutoForesight, said, but he predicts sales to gradually pick up in the next three quarters.
Industry executives also say China’s car sales in January and February tend to be affected by the Lunar New Year holiday, as consumers hold off on their car purchasing decisions around the festival.
The holiday’s dates change annually but tend to occur in either month. It took place in the first week of February this year.
China’s sales of new energy vehicles, however, continued to buck the trend, totaling 95,700 in January, a year-on-year increase of 140 percent, CAAM said.