Tanay Manjrekar, a native of Pune and Virgin Hyperloop’s Power Electronics Specialist, has become the first Indian to travel in a Hyperloop Pod at the DevLoop test facility at Las Vegas in the US.

Things are moving at Richard Branson’s much hyped Virgin Hyperloop project. Earlier this month, the super high-speed levitating pod system completed its first passenger ride at speeds of up to 172 km, with Virgin Hyperloop’s chief technology officer, Josh Giegel, and its director of passenger experience, Sara Luchian, getting to be the first to travel on the system.

Now Manjrekar joins their ranks. The Indian connection is in fact pretty strong in the Virgin Hyperloop commercialisation story. The new CFO, Raja Narayanan, who joined the company earlier this year, hails from Tamil Nadu. Besides, India is in the race to be the first place where the actual commercialisation of the project could take off. The Maharashtra government has deemed hyperloop a public infrastructure project and approved approved the Virgin Hyperloop-DP World Consortium as the Original Project Proponent (OPP) for the Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop project.

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Successful human testing in Hyperloop Pod is a significant step forward in bringing hyperloop to India. The proposed route will link two of the most important and high growth cities in India – Mumbai and Pune – a distance of approximately 140 km in under 30 minutes.

Virgin Hyperloop is looking beyond Maharashtra as well. Last month, it announced a partnership with Bangalore International Airports (BIAL) to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed Hyperloop corridor from Bangalore Airport. The study, which focuses on technical, economic and route feasibility, is expected to be completed in two phases of six months each. With speeds of up to 1,080 kmph, Hyperloop could transport thousands of passengers per hour from Bangalore Airport to the city centre in under 10 minutes, according to the preliminary analysis.

Virgin Hyperloop also signed a MoU with Punjab’s transport department in December 2019, as it continues exploring opportunities in northern India.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and Group Chairman & CEO of DP World said, “We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods.”

“Working on hyperloop – let alone being one of the first to ride it – is truly a dream come true,” said Manjrekar. “It is my hope that India sees the tremendous opportunity ahead of it, to once again be an innovation leader and leapfrog the rest of the world, and continues its progress in the Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project.”

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