Elon Musk is a man known for his innovative standpoint in the physical and virtual world, co-founding PayPal and becoming the founder of Tesla Motors, SpaceX, the two companies he is currently focusing most of his time on and Chairman of Solar City.
The innovator is not finished yet, with the Hyperloop, his newest grand project, revealed today in its alpha phase. Musk describes the Hyperloop as the fifth mode of travel, sitting in between train and plane as a superfast alternative. He came up with it after getting sick of the travel between Los Angeles to San Francisco and hearing about an expensive high-speed rail service.
Essentially the Hyperloop is a train, placed inside a suction tube with little to no air. The tube will move from one area to the other and back with magnets pulling the train along, at around 800mph, faster than a commercial plane.
Musk went into further details, stating the Hyperloop would feel like an airplane, the g-force all pushes down so the rider never feels an intense burst of energy. The Hyperloop is running on a linear induction motor, similar to what is currently running Tesla’s Model S cars and Musk said he could make the Hyperloop run on Model S motors and motor technology.
The Hyperloop would be extremely proficient when it comes to energy, time and safety. Musk said it is “almost impossible” for the Hyperloop to crash and the only way would be if the pylons carrying the Hyperloop somehow broke. It will run on solar technology, making it one of the greenest friendly solutions available.
Musk did say he would be willing to work on a prototype for the Hyperloop, to possibly show someone else how to make it. Musk said he will not be fully invested in the project, with his work currently on Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Solar City.
The Hyperloop with passenger only would cost $6 billion to make and $10 billion for a larger scale model capable of carrying cars. The passenger only model would cost more than Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City have spent together. Musk did say he would be willing to invest his own money into the prototype, if nobody else was prepared.
Musk has said the Hyperloop will take about three to four years to build, unless some other company decides to try the new idea out themselves. He said it could be done in one or two years if the company is fully invested in creating the prototype.
For now, the Hyperloop’s alpha design will be worked on, by both Musk’s teams at Tesla and SpaceX and with a community dedicated to faster travel. The prototype would be built somewhere out the way of cities and could be a show to governments interested in the new super fast travel route.
With the huge train routes being proposed in the UK and similar ideas in Germany, France, Japan and other areas, the Hyperloop could be a more energy efficient, eco-friendly solution. We can see $6 billion not being that costly for governments who want the technology first and want to make money through this superfast travel route.
For now, we will have to wait and see if Elon Musk gains a lucky investor in the Hyperloop. If not, we will still have to wait about three years until Musk gets it all up and running and that is just the prototype.
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