[two_thirds]When you have made a good amount of money (we are talking Billions$), then you can once in a while say and do things which you’ve always wanted..like things you wanted when you were 7 years old, and were a fanboy of ‘The Jetsons’.
That’s exactly what Mr. Elon Musk has been upto for the past week. Recently, the California Government sanctioned the High Speed Train Project, just between L.A. and San Francisco, for an estimated cost of $70 billion.
When Musk came to know about this he grew disenchanted by everything about it and went ahead and said
You have to look at what they say it will cost vs. the actual final costs, and I think it’s safe to say you’re talking about a $100 billion-plus train, plus the train is too slow and a horrendous land rights mess.
Musk believes that, if a state like CA, which is the tech capital of the world is still going to use one of the most expensive train layout plans and then further not even be the fastest in the world, would be a shame.
And that if there is to be a massive investment in a new transportation system, then the return should by rights be equally massive. Compared to the alternatives, it should ideally be:
• Lower cost
• More convenient
• Immune to weather
• Sustainably self-powering
• Resistant to Earthquakes
• Not disruptive to those along the route
Is there truly a new mode of transport – a fifth mode after planes, trains, cars and boats – that meets those criteria and is practical to implement?
And that’s when Elon Musk came out with the concept of the HyperLoop
So, What Is HyperLoop?
HyperLoop is a high-speed transportation system that could whisk passengers at up to 800 miles per hour at a cost Musk says is about 10% of California’s proposed high speed rail plan.
The rail authority proposes spending nearly $70 billion over the next 16 years to provide a roughly $200 round-trip that takes 2 hours and 40 minutes each way between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Musk wants to cut the cost of building by 90% and take the time down to 30 minutes, and the cost of a ticket to be about $20. Sounds a bit too good and La-La land-ish? Yes? Wrong. It’s possible and even though initially Musk said he doesn’t have the time to devote to this as much as it deserves, he has recently confirmed that he would help make a prototype if not more.
So how does the HyperLoop work? And how is it SO cheap?
Using a pair of long, steel tubes with solar panels mounted atop of them, Musk’s Hyperloop would have small pods riding inside it, leaving every 2 minutes, that could carry people or even vehicles, in a slightly more expensive design. He envisions people coming in a continuous flow, unlike air travel, getting security checked and then boarding their pod, which would ride on a cushion of air generated through rails built into each of them. The pods would then knife through the thin atmosphere of the tubes. While that design doesn’t call for a vacuum in the tubes — Musk says that would be prohibitively expensive and very challenging to maintain — the air would be about 1/6 as dense as that on Mars . Air resistance increases with the square of speed, and since the Hyperloop will reach 800 miles per hour on much of its journey, keeping resistance to a minimum is critical.
Musk believes the system could carry people each for $20 per person, less than the cost of gasoline to drive and far cheaper than flying (especially last-minute air travel, which is now typically $199 each way).
Asked about the concept development behind the HyperLoop, Musk unveiled that they were developed by a team of a dozen engineers from both Tesla and SpaceX over the course of the last 9 months.
The Hyperloop is optimized for travel between cities that are fewer than 1,000 miles apart, and will travel 800 miles per hour–and in every way feel more like the Concorde than an Amtrak car. “Trains are heavy,” he says. “This is designed more like an aircraft.”
The thought of traveling at 800 mph makes any feel nauseous, but Musk claims that it won’t, and if you think about it, we are moving in air, the explanation he gave was that the Hyperloop will feel like an airplane to ride. “There will be initial acceleration and once you’re at traveling speed you wouldn’t really notice the speed at all,” Musk said, noting that there will be no lateral acceleration (by which he means swaying side-to-side like a roller coaster). “It should just feel really super smooth and quiet, and obviously there wouldn’t be any turbulence or anything.”
Some interesting aspects:
-Tube can be built right along the freeway to reduce cost of land.
-The “air cushion” will be provided by the pod, not the tube.
-It might cost around $6 billion USD, “less than 9%” of the high speed rail that was proposed.
-35 minutes from LA to San Francisco
-Early estimates are $20 per ticket (not counting inflation, which will increase that).
Also from ‘davebrewer’ :
it uses the same type of motor technology as the Tesla S (just in a different configuration) placed every 70 miles. Guess what that means?
Whatever technology you’re using to power those motors can also be tapped into to create a charging station for your Tesla every 70 (or less) miles, right along the highway. Get the state/feds to fund the construction, then your private company taps into the infrastructure to develop electric “filling stations.” As more Hyperloops are built, a nationwide network of electric filling stations is automatically created without a private company having to foot the bill for infrastructure development.
This guy is a damn genius. Seriously this is the type of thinking that makes the electric automobile a viable future product. Piggy-backing the infrastructure is a very, very good business idea.
Obviously it’s going to take a couple of years before we even get to see it. But when we do, let’s hope MoZ is there to inform you 😀
Elon Musk in Mission Control at SpaceX
|Born||28 June 1971 (age 42)
Pretoria, South Africa
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
The Wharton School (BEc.)
University of Pennsylvania, (BSc.)
|Known for||Co-founder of Zip2, Founder of PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors|
|Salary||$78,150,000 per year
|Net worth||2.7 billion/ 7.7 Billion (August 2013)
|Title||CEO and CTO of SpaceX,
CEO and Product Architect ofTesla Motors,
Chairman of SolarCity