Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has released a 57-page outline of his idea for a “Hyperloop” transportation system. The plan is for it to carry passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 30 minutes.
The outline shows that the Hyperloop will travel at 800 MPH in a tube system. The pods will be carried through low-pressure tubes, hovering on an air cushion. The pods float above ski-like sheets of thin metal alloy. An intake in front of the pod sucks in air, which is compressed and then ejected beneath to levitate the pod above the metal tube.
For the pods to move forward, electromagnets are used so that the ride is smooth like that of an airplane. Passengers would have the sensation of floating after feeling the initial acceleration.
Musk feels that due to the design the Hyperloop will be the fastest and safetest method of current transport. It is impossible for the system to derail like a train. The tube will be mounted on pylons, which will be fitted with earthquake dampers so the system will also be able to cope in the event of an earthquake.
The Hyperloop is optimized for travel between cities that are less than 1,000 miles apart. “Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper,” said Musk. “For much longer journeys such as LA to NY it would be worth exploring super high speeds and this is probably technically feasible, but, as mentioned above, I believe the economics would probably favor a supersonic plane.”
The pods are said to hold 28 passengers and a journey in the Hyperloop will cost you about $20 one-way. However don’t expect to be able to book a ticket any time soon. Musk has said that it will probably take around seven years to build.
“Maybe I would just do the beginning bit, create a subscale version that is operating and then hand it over to someone else,” said Musk. “Ironing out the details at a subscale level is a tricky thing. I think I would probably end up doing that. It just won’t be immediate in the short term because I have to focus on Tesla and SpaceX execution.”
[Image via abc news]