The initiator of the future Mobility City Campus Rotterdam, Avanto Ventures, wants to bring the Delft-based start-up Hardt to Rotterdam. Hardt is currently working on the development of an ultra-fast Hyperloop hovertrain. This new area for transport-related inventions will be located in the Merwevierhaven area, next to the three eye-catching towers on Marconiplein.
The municipality is examining the feasibility of this location. The land is partly owned by the municipality and partly by the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The aim is to start work in 2021.
Several innovative companies will invent, test and further develop new products in the field of mobility on the Mobility City Campus in Rotterdam. The Hardt Hyperloop could be one of these companies.
Flagship of the Netherlands
The Hardt Hyperloop is without a doubt the flagship of the Netherlands when it comes to innovative mobility in Europe. The aim is for the ultra-fast Hyperloop hovertrain to become an alternative for aircraft flying between European cities. They are just as fast, while there are no delays because the tube that makes them glide is not affected by weather conditions or other traffic. “So when they come to Rotterdam, it will be an enormous boost for us”, says Avanto’s initiator Antti Rantanen.
He has no idea when the decision will be made. “I hope they will make the decision this year. That would be an enormous boost for the campus and for the city. Not only because of the technology that the Hardt Hyperloop brings in. But also because of the companies which they attract and who contribute to the development of the Hyperloop.”
However, in Rantanen’s view, Mobility City Campus Rotterdam is not the only location which Hardt Hyperloop wants to commit itself to. “I noticed here and there that there are areas in the Netherlands where not much is happening and where there is a need for an economic impulse. But that is something for national politics. I’m not involved in any of that.”
Rantanen thinks that these types of environments low in productivity would not be convenient, as the Hyperloop can in fact benefit from other start-ups within the accelerator environment that its Mobility City Campus in Rotterdam will have to become.
Not so far
Mars Geuze , co-founder of Hardt Hyperloo, says that discussions are taking place with various authorities, including the municipality of Rotterdam, about the conditions for settling down in Rotterdam. “Rotterdam is an interesting option if the Mobility City Campus Rotterdam has a field lab as well as an experience center for the public. We would like to do it this way because, as a consumer, you will then be able to experience what it will be like to be in a Hyperloop cabin in the future. This is important because consumers will soon have to make use of it.”
Another condition is that the experience center should not be too far from the test site, where there is room for a straight, three-kilometer-long tube. The Hyperloop metro will glide through it. “It doesn’t have to be right next to it, but for that matter it shouldn’t be 200 kilometers away either. That’s not convenient. We have many dignitaries, such as transport ministers from all over the world, who come over to us to take a look at our technology. You then would not want to drive up and down between those two locations all the time. They don’t have time for that during a work visit.”
Political clout for the city
Before the summer holidays, European Commisioner for Transport Violeta Bulc and Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (VVD, Traffic) came to Delft to view part of the test tube and the latest technological breakthroughs. “Visits of this kind are incredibly important,” says Rantanen. “Also for the municipality of Rotterdam. You can then have a face-to-face discussion with politicians at the highest level about the development of the Hyperloop and exert some influence.”
Geuze states that over the past six months, Hardt Hyperloop has been holding discussions every two months with Bulc’s European officials about the development of regulations for hyperloops. The technology of the Delft start-up is the current standard. “The Netherlands really has the lead on this,” Geuze says.
Not only does the arrival of the Hardt Hyperloop in Rotterdam provide political clout, it will also give the city a more positive image, Rantanen believes. “People from all over the world have come to see what is happening here because of the Hyperloop. That is excellent city marketing. I’m Finnish, yet I’ve lived all over the world. I thought that Rotterdam was poor and criminal and that gangs were all over the place. Most foreigners think that. When this really is a great city.”