Shervin Pishevar’s Hyperloop Races Toward Two Different Finish Lines

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When Shervin Pishevar co-founded Hyperloop One, arguably the first company that is 100% serious about building the revolutionary high-speed transport train, he never could have imagined that he would see not just one, but two revolutionary projects develop, led by two of the world’s most prolific entrepreneurs.

In fact, it would seem perfectly natural that one would have the edge: Elon Musk.

Why? Because the idea was born way back during Pishevar’s humanitarian trip to Cuba with Musk. While the two explored the country, Pishevar convinced Musk to explore this ground-breaking technology.

Later, both Pishevar and Musk showed commitment to seeing the project realized.

Down the road, however, another super-prolific entrepreneur would take the reins of Pishevar’s company, and make the race to create the Hyperloop, well…a horse race. And today, we’re seeing exactly what it means when two determined entrepreneurial visions, both arguably owing their existence to Pishevar himself, compete to become the first to create a safe, mainstream, electric propulsion train to transport both people and cargo.

There are a few things that make the Hyperloop concept extraordinary. Passengers and cargo are loaded into sleek vehicles that sit in a low-pressure tube. When the train takes off, it uses electronic propulsion and magnets to pull it forward. Floating above the track via magnetic levitation, pods can glide as fast as an airplane. Facing almost no aerodynamic drag, the train is expected to reach its destinations quickly, easily, and safely.

So, how much can the Hyperloop cut down travel time? A proposed Hyperloop One route would take what is normally a two-hour trip, from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, and cut it to just 12 minutes.

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It all started in August 2013, when Elon Musk published a white paper on the technology, which Pishevar presented to President Obama. Obama showed immediate interest, offering his support for the project. Other tech entrepreneurs joined the startup, now known as Hyperloop One.

These backers and visionaries included Angel Investor David Sacks, known for his contributions to Yammer, Zenefits, and other companies, and Peter Diamandis, chairman of Singularity University, chairman of X Prize, and founder of Space Adventures Limited. Joe Lonsdale rounded out the group, with substantial experience as an investor, with Oculus VR, Thalmic Labs, and PeopleCo as some of his high-profile financial projects.

Hyperloop One took off quickly. By December 2014, Pishevar helped open the Innovation Campus in LA’s downtown arts district. It is a trendy space, complete with graffiti and nearby railroad tracks-the perfect environment to build something extraordinary. Soon, Hyperloop One had millions of dollars in funding and real components were being delivered and tested.

The Hyperloop One was well on its way.

Musk, however, branched out in a different direction. Rather than focus on an elevated railway, he began exploring the concept of having an underground tube. This in itself was expected to raise significant challenges.

But not for Musk. Seven months ago, Musk claims he received verbal approval from the Trump administration to build the first Hyperloop Alpha, with a proposed route from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Musk’s Boring Company was tasked with carving out underground tunnels to house the Hyperloop tubes. Musk will begin exploratory digging in the nation’s capital, which might just be a stop on a D.C. to Baltimore to Philly to New York route.

However, Pishevar’s founding company, Hyperloop One, has also made huge strides, as it is now spearheaded by Virgin’s Sir. Richard Branson.
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In Dubai, Hyperloop One revealed its first full-scale model of the Hyperloop pod, expected to transport passengers at more than 620 miles per hour from one destination to the next. Beyond the Dubai route, the company recently announced another popular route, from Mumbai to Pune.

The Mumbai to Pune route, expected to open for testing in 2021, will travel an astonishing 93 miles in 25 minutes. Even with a detour at Mumbai airport, which will slow down the trip time by a smidge, it will cut what’s normally a grueling three-hour journey to minutes.

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Alpha uses the same concept, but with a different look. Just yesterday, Musk revealed a conceptual video of what passengers can expect. Once a pod is filled, it descends below ground and gains speed, eventually merging into one track with other pods.

Pishevar’s values align seamlessly with Musk’s vision. Musk believes Hyperloop Alpha will benefit the financially challenged first. While the Hyperloop Alpha will eventually transport automobiles, Musk’s first priority is serving those without cars, and will only move on to wheeled cargo when the needs of mass transit are met.
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Shervin Pishevar is a renowned philanthropist who has long used his well-known status as a force for good. Beyond his ongoing dedication to local charities, he has shown support to the international community, traveling to Africa to build wells and deliver fresh water to native populations. He also served on the influential United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council.

The overarching theme of both Hyperloops is to serve humanity while saving the environment. Hyperloop travel is clean travel, offering zero direct carbon emissions. Tracks will be built with wildlife in mind.

For Pishevar, who routinely hosts charity events and supports a long slate of causes, from the environment to visa reform to cultural exchanges between countries, having two versions of the train that caught his fascination so many years ago, both with the goal of serving mankind, is nothing more than icing on the cake. No doubt that when these trains go from the testing phase to being travel-ready, Pishevar will be one of the first proud passengers.


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