As if being a founder of PayPal, all-electric car company Tesla Motors, and space exploration company SpaceX, not to mention chair of solar services company SolarCity, wasn’t enough for one entrepreneurial lifetime; now, Elon Musk has revealed he has an idea for a new super-fast, sustainable transport system he’s calling “Hyperloop”.
In an hour-long, wide-ranging interview with Sarah Lacy from PandoMonthly, Musk revealed that he would like to develop a “fifth mode of transportation” in the world. We already have trains, autos, planes, and boats (ahem, and spacecraft). Musk says his idea for the new transport system could conceivably deliver you the distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes.
Sarah asked if his idea is “like a jetsons tunnel, you just get in and it whisks you away?”. Musk said that is thinking in the right direction, but it’s not quite that. I see that after the interview Musk tweeted, “Not a vac tunnel btw.” Additionally, the tweet mentioned that he “Will publish something on the Hyperloop in about four weeks. Will forgo patents on the idea and just open source it.” In the interview with Lacy he said he was tossing up whether to patent the idea first, or just open source it to help make it happen.
He believes the idea is totally possible. If it were just about anyone else besides Musk, I think most people might say, “He’s crazy. This is impossible. It’ll never happen”. However, given Musk’s track record so far in making the seemingly impossible a reality, it might pay to take this guy’s idea pretty seriously.
The so-called Hyperloop system does sound almost too good to be true. When explaining the concept, Musk also said,
“The system I have in mind, how would you like something that can never crash, is immune to weather, it goes 3 or 4 times faster than the bullet train…it goes an average speed of twice what an aircraft would do? You would go from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes. It would cost you much less than an air ticket, less than any other most of transport. 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 are ways to store power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely”
We can’t wait to see more details about this Hyperloop concept. The only question is: how could Elon Musk have enough time to be the CEO of SpaceX , Tesla Motors, and Hyperloop all at the same time? Cloning, perhaps?
Image: snapshot from video