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Slovakia Could Bring the Hyperloop to Europe

The country’s trying to shed its communist past by investing heavily in tech.

Maybe you've heard the Hyperloop mantra of "San Francisco to LA in 30 minutes?" Well, what about Bratislava to Vienna in eight? Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the two LA-based startups working to realize Elon Musk's dream of 760 mph, tube-based travel, announced Thursday that it had reached a deal with the government of Slovakia to explore building a system in the central European country. The startup says possible routes include the capital Bratislava to Vienna, Austria — eight minutes at full speed — and Budapest, Hungary.

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The company's CEO, Dirk Alhborn, has been traveling the world looking for foreign government's willing to accept the gospel of the Hyperloop. And they found one in Slovakia, a country trying to shed its communist past by investing heavily in technology. Alhborn praised Slovakia as a "technology leader," and said he hoped this deal — details of which are still pretty vague — would "incentivize collaboration and innovation within Slovakia and throughout Europe."

There were other breathless reactions in HTT's press release. Vazil Hudak, the Harvard-trained minister of economy of the Slovak Republic, said, "A transportation system of this kind would redefine the concept of commuting and boost cross-border cooperation in Europe."

And Bibop Gresta, the flamboyant chief operating officer of HTT, noted that region's rich transportation history, such as the first underground train in Budapest and the first electric trainline between Bratislava and Vienna. "Slovakia continues to confirm its position as one of the most forward-thinking countries by embracing innovations like the Hyperloop transportation system," he said.

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Photo courtesy of HTT/Jump Start Fund.


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