Hyperloop technologies (HT) co-founders Shervin Pishevar and Brogan BamBrogan were at the Launch Festival last week and sat down with Jason Calacanis to discuss the latest progress in making Elon Musk’s fifth mode of transportation a reality.
Pishevar confirmed that the company has been growing steadily with now 129 full-time employees. We recently revealed that HT hired the man behind the failed ‘UK Ultraspeed’ maglev project to lead the company’s global business development for passenger systems. The startup made several other high-profile hires, especially in engineering.
BamBrogan commented on SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Competition and confirmed that HT will be sponsoring several teams and already hired a few participants.
The two co-founders also released new images of their test track under-construction in North Las Vegas – (the video is set to start at the drone footage of the track):
Later on, Pishevar hinted to something even more interesting than the test track. He said that are governments around the world that are “interested and excited” about working with the company and he added that the first place that will get a Hyperloop will likely be outside of the US.
But then when Calacanis pressed him about a location in the US if it were to happen, Pishevar started talking about Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom, who is running for Governor in 2018 and happened to be in the room, and he hinted that a “leader like Newsom” could potentially introduce a referendum for Californians to vote on replacing the currently planned $70 billion California High-Speed Rail with a new Hyperloop route between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which BamBrogan estimates could cost only about one-third of the current budget of the California High-Speed Rail.
When Elon Musk first proposed the Hyperloop and published his 2013 whitepaper on the subject, it was mainly to offer an alternative to the California High-Speed Rail, which he saw as too expensive and slow.
But stakeholders in the project are still moving forward. Is there really still a chance for the Hyperloop to replace the California High-Speed Rail?