If nothing else, Hyperloop gets the conversation rolling on the future of transportation and has the ability to spark other ideas that could one day be practical, improved alternatives to high-speed rail and highways. Just don't expect to see its construction in California any time soon.
Tech blog and transport geeks alike waited all day for Elon Musk to unveil the first look at Hyperloop, a supposed fifth form of transportation that could take travelers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.
Businessweek published the first interview with Musk regarding the design of Hyperloop, in which he describes its basic features:
- People would sit in aluminum pods that travel inside steel tubes at 800 mph.
- 70 pods would leave every 30 seconds and travel with 5 miles between one another.
- The pods could carry cars in addition to passengers.
- Parallel tubes would be constructed on columns that stood 50 to 100 yards apart.
- The tubes would follow I-5, the main freeway between LA and San Francisco.
- Tickets would be cheaper than a plane ride.
- The Hyperloop would cost approximately $6 billion to build with people-only pods and $10 billion for pods that hold people and cars.
- There is an emergency break.
The open-source design will be open to contributions and feedback after Musk publicly announced that he has no plans of actually building out the concept.
California already ran into several obstacles in securing its $70 billion high-speed rail project so even if someone wants to build the Hyperloop, it’s unlikely it would be approved any time soon.
Elon Musk’s full introduction to Hyperloop Alpha is embedded below:
Photo credit: Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk talks about Tesla's new battery swapping program in Hawthorne, California June 20, 2013. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters