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A proposed mode of passenger and/or freight transportation Hyperloop first used to describe an open-source vactrain design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX. Elon Musk's version of the concept, first publicly mentioned in 2012, incorporates reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and air compressors. A number of routes have been proposed for Hyperloop systems that meet the approximate distance conditions for which a Hyperloop is hypothesized to provide improved transport times. Route proposals range from speculation described in company releases to business cases to signed agreements.
Speaking to Ukrainian media previous week, Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Omelyan stated that the Ukrainian government would launch a test platform for its Hyperloop system in Dnipro. The system is expected to cost over $3 billion, not counting rolling stock. It is expected to come online in the next 3-5 years.
Last September, Hyperloop One has announced ten winning cities that could be the first construction sites for Hyperloop. Ten teams from five countries (Mexico, India, USA, United Kingdom, and Canada) were selected from 2,600 candidates. It is expected that the first routes can range from 320 to 1,100 km. And in the future, Hyperloop would be able to unite the whole world.
What is planned to happen in Ukraine? Minister of Infrastructure Omelyan signed a Memorandum on the launch of the transport innovation project HypeUA, within which the development of the newest transport technologies in Ukraine, first of all, the high-speed transport system Hyperloop to be launched.
According to the minister, next year the country might begin construction of a test site in Dnipro for the introduction of "hyper-high-speed communication of the Hyperloop type at the expense of private investors. "We are launching a transport innovation project HypeUA, within which we will prepare the ground for the development of innovative transport systems in Ukraine. We will consider the possibility of building a test tube based on the aerospace cluster in Dnipro, around which we will create an innovative environment for the development of transport start-ups,” he noted.
Omelyan has also stressed that the project would be implemented with the participation of the Academy of Sciences, Octagonal Corporation, Yuzhmash rocket company, Ukroboronprom state concern, Interpipe company, Kakhovsky plant of electric welding equipment and others.
Ivan Ohylchyn, Octagonal managing partner, which is already working on the Hyperloop project in Mexico, states that the scheme will work like this: first NAS, Ukrainian state bodies, public and private companies will develop the project in accordance with the requirements of Hyperloop One, then it will be presented to companies, that will assess the practical success of the project. If it meets the requirements, the creation of the test site in Dnipro will begin.
The total cost of the project implementation is still unknown. "The budget cannot be commented right now, but it is several times cheaper than building high-speed rail lines," Omelyan said, and then added that it is planned to attract private investments to create a test site for Hyperloop in Dnipro.
Even in July 2017, the specialists of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future thoroughly studied the implementation of Hyperloop in Ukraine and calculated the cost of its construction.
It turned out that the construction of a transport system of this type is indeed the cheapest compared to other high-speed technologies in the world. In 2013, the cost of construction of one kilometer was estimated at $ 10.56 million. In 2017, this amount rose to $ 26.7 million.
On the example of the route Kyiv-Odesa, the employees determined the cost of Hyperloop construction and the price of the ticket. Thus, taking into account the construction of pipes, capsules and their equipment, the construction of a transport connection of this type would cost Ukraine $ 3.6 billion. Taking into account the current exchange rate, this will be even more expensive.
A ticket for a 15-minute trip to Hyperloop from Odesa to Kyiv should cost $ 19.9 (at 26 UAH to 1 USD rate). However, according to experts, this amount will not cover the expenses. In this case, the ticket price should be 4,384 UAH (168 USD).
As of June 2017, a ticket for the "Intercity" train was worth 324 UAH (12 USD) with a travel duration of six hours, for the plane - 2,970 UAH or 110 USD (flight duration - 1 hour).
As a result, the Ukrainian Institute of the Future says that at the moment, the introduction of such transport system in Ukraine is impossible.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Infrastructure is convinced in the opposite. "I am 99% sure that the scientific evaluation will be positive," said Omelyan.
The Minister is convinced that there will also be an investor for the implementation of the project. In his opinion, if HypeUA is successfully implemented, then in a decade or so in Ukraine it will be possible to use Hyperloop.