Inventor and founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors Elon Musk has promised to reveal the design for his revolutionary Hyperloop transport system by August 12. Musk has heralded Hyperloop as a “fifth mode” of transport, after planes, trains automobiles and boats.
Evasively describing it as a “cross between a Concorde and a rail gun and an air hockey table”, Musk maintains that Hyperloop could carry passengers from central LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes, a journey that would necessitate speeds of over 685 mph (1,102 km/h). The construction cost of this service, Musk claims, would be around $6b – ten times cheaper than the proposed high speed rail service covering the same route.
In an interview with PandoDaily in July 2012, Musk stated: “it would cost you much less than an air ticket or car, much less than any other mode of transport, because the fundamental energy cost is so much lower. And I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it … you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There’s a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries.”
Talking to Bloomberg in September 2012, Musk said: “What you want is something that never crashes, that’s at least twice as fast as a plane, that’s solar powered and that leaves right when you arrive, so there is no waiting for a specific departure time … I’d like to talk to the governor and president about it, because the $60 billion bullet train they’re proposing in California would be the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile. They’re going for records in all the wrong ways.”
So far Musk has revealed that Hyperloop’s “pod” would be around two metres in diameter, that it will not require rails and that it could hypothetically function above or below ground.