Contributed by: Show Editorial Team
Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and Co-Founder of Hyperloop Transporation, was interview live by Matt Bird, Host of the Traders Network Show at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
Hyperloop formed in 2013 to develop novel transportation system
Hyperloop is developing high speed trains in sealed transportation systems
900,000 new jobs could. Be created as a result of bringing this to the US
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation with Matt Bird
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 00:00
Welcome back to the Traders Network Show broadcasting worldwide from Davos, Switzerland. I’m Matt Bird. We’re here at the 2020 World Economic Forum. My next guest is Dirk Ahlborn, the chairman of Hyperloop. Dirk, welcome to the show. So Dirk, there’s a lot of stuff in the news today. You’ve got a project in Missouri, you’ve got some other things going on in Southern parts of the US you’ve just had some recent news come out. Tell us a little about what’s going on with Hyperloop.
Dirk Ahlborn – CEO, Hyperloop Transportation: 00:24
Well, you know, it’s really exciting times when it comes to mobility. We have been around now for a little bit over six years, so of course we have a lot of different projects. You hear a lot about Hyperloop. It’s also part of how we’re doing it through a community, right? So getting like it’s a movement really, that’s what it had become. And you have efforts in the US you have efforts in Europe, you have efforts in the middle East. For us mainly right now we are finalizing the integration of the system and our R and D center in Tullius. We have our first commercial agreement in Abu Dhabi and as you just mentioned, we announced just a couple of weeks ago the finishing of the first interstate’s independent visibility study that was done in the US so it’s a study that has been done between Cleveland, Chicago and Cleveland and Pittsburgh together with over 80 stakeholders completely independent and the results are just amazing. Basically they’re confirming everything that we have set so far. I mean, so of course we knew, but having it from a third party and someone who is in this business and doing feasibility studies for high speed train projects confirming what we have always said is great. Right.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 01:43
You threw up a few numbers earlier when we were talking a little bit offline and from an economic development standpoint, a development project like the Hyperloop must be staggering for the local economy. Are we going to see some more progressive movement in the near future?
Dirk Ahlborn – CEO, Hyperloop Transportation: 01:57
Yeah, I mean, of course now that we have the results and as we talked earlier, the results are really amazing. We’re talking about roughly 900,000 new jobs that are not directly related to the system was a construction. It was a system. So it has a huge impact on the corridor. And you know, you have income increase around 40%, you have property value increase obviously with that comes additional tax income. So the government is happy about that as well. But most importantly, it really confirms that the system makes economic sense. And that’s what I want to say, the big news, right? Because it says no train line in the whole world. That makes economic sense, right? It’s a Hyperloop because we are very low operational costs can be built. Your investors, so privately private investors can build it and can get their money back and then you can actually generate income. And that changes infrastructure completely. I mean, in the US as you know, we don’t have the best infrastructure, right? So infrastructure is lacking. You need to maintain it. And it’s partially because it’s very, very expensive to maintain it. And so it is a completely new class of infrastructure.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 03:07
It’s definitely an evolution of technology on all levels. And I mean, we have a very brick and mortar infrastructure in the US has been around for quite some time and it’s served as purpose, but it’s now time for obviously something new and more efficient. What’s next for Hyperloop?
Dirk Ahlborn – CEO, Hyperloop Transportation: 03:26
As I mentioned earlier, we’re finishing our integration in Tullius. We already have agreements for the first commercial line and the Emirates and Abu Dhabi. The big hurdle to overcome is regulation. So we have been working a lot with regulators around the world. We presented, the safety guidelines that we did together was to Sue to the DLT in Washington. We’re working in Europe, with European council on creating the regulatory framework. And we have been, even working with Munich Re is the largest reinsurance company in the world and to be able to ensure the system, which is a very important step when it comes to commercialization. So now that every, all of these things, all these steps have been done, you know, we just need to continue working where I’m looking forward to moving the first people insights, a Hyperloop. We’re looking forward to start construction in Abu Dhabi. So 2020 is going to be a big year.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 04:20
Wow. 2020 in Abu Dhabi. What can people do to advocate for the Hyperloop? I know there’s a big movement online right now. There’s a lot of people advocating for it to come to local areas. What can people do if they want it to come to the area? What do they do?
Dirk Ahlborn – CEO, Hyperloop Transportation: 04:33
So we have a very unique model as a company by itself, which by the way is a Harvard case study. So we have over 800 people and over 50 companies that are working together with us and are working in exchange for a participation in the company for stock options. So that’s really what makes it a movement. And so obviously if someone has ideas about new technologies and how we can make the product better, and I’m not just talking about the capsule that moves inside the tube, but we have a unique opportunity to build a transportation systems the way it should be done in 2020. We’re always open to hear new ideas, new inputs. So then of course on a political level, support is always welcome. But I must say that actually, you know, all the politicians worldwide that we are talking with are very supportive. There’s a needs. They know that they need to do something to solving a problem, right? If we could put that money, that right now we using to support rails around the world into education or into health care, right, then it would be already a better world. So, you know, in general, just, yeah, let’s we just need to look forward to it and be positive and try to, you know, celebrate a little bit the bureaucracy that’s really what takes a little bit longer.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 05:54
So I know you’re really busy, man, and you need to get going. Be your eyes and ears for a minute. You’ve been up and down the strip. You’re here every year. I tried to run you down last year and we just missed each other. Tell us about what are some of your big takeaways from this WEF?
Dirk Ahlborn – CEO, Hyperloop Transportation: 06:11
I mean I think it’s clear that more and more the big guys if you want, so are realizing that we need to change and social sustainability is a big issue. Supporting this change in general. I think that’s taking away that fear of change is what they’re really trying to do here. And it’s not always easy, right? Because we are all are wary of change. So we like it the way that things have been going.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 06:43
You know, and I’d say, I think you really nailed it. It doesn’t matter how smart or sophisticated the solution is, change is still change and people resist at times. And education is education.
Dirk Ahlborn – CEO, Hyperloop Transportation: 06:59
I mean, smaller, big. It doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 07:01
Well, listen Dirk, thanks so much for coming on. I appreciate it. Dirk, chairman of Hyperloop, you’re watching the Traders Network Show. Special thanks out to our affiliate partners, ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS. I hope I get my voice back sometime soon. Don’t go away. We’ll be back with more. Thanks a lot.
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