Canadian Transpod to develop hyperloop in southwest France
The Canadian start-up, Transpod, will take up residence in the small municipality of Droux in southwest France and build the longest test track for the development of the hyperloop technology.
One day after Virgin Hyperloop One announced it would set up its new research centre in Spain, competitor Transpod declared it would start the procedures for a building permit with the French Haute-Vienne prefecture this Friday. The Canadian start-up led by Sébastien Gendron will develop its hyperloop technology in Droux.
The small municipality of about 400 inhabitants located fifty kilometres north of Limoges canvassed Transpod to hatch “an innovative project capable of shining the spotlights on the region”, explains Vincent Léonie, deputy mayor of Limoges. The politician is a keen advocate of the hyperloop technology that hopes to transport humans and freight at the speed of planes and at the rate of the metro.
The municipality services now have to examine the test track’s dossier. Transpod plans to make use of an old rail track to build a three kilometres long tube on stilts, in which pods will travel in complete vacuum. “This track will allow us to test the hyperloop technology in real world conditions at a ½ scale”, adds CEO Sébastien Gendron.
The hyperloop technology’s development has been increasingly growing since Elon Musk emitted the idea back in 2013. Since then, Californian HyperloopTT has done successful tests in the desert and so did Virgin Hyperloop One, to which billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson associated his name. In the Netherlands, the government is very interested in the technology after the Technical University of Delft created the first European test facility. The French state-owned rail company, SNCF, and General Electric proved to be on board with the technology by investing in Virgin Hyperloop One.
Commercial line in 2030
The hyperloop technology consists of pods traveling at high speed on magnetic rails inside a vacuum-filled tube to completely eliminate friction. Sébastien Gendron and his partner Ryan Janzen aim at creating the first 1.000 kph commercial line in 2030. To get to this ambitious goal, Transpod will employ around twenty engineers and technicians in its future Droux facility. The project costing above 21 million euro is 100% financed by a 50 million dollar fundraising.
While the future Transpod facility will help developing a new promising technology, Droux inhabitants worry about the visual and noise pollution that it could create.