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Elon Musk Reveals 800 MPH, Solar-Powered ‘Hyperloop’ Transport Concept

Hyperloop interior

Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has revealed a much anticipated initial design study for his 800 MPH ‘Hyperloop’ transport idea. Although Musk says he is too busy with his other companies to go ahead and fully develop the Hyperloop system now (there’s little doubt he could get investment funding with his track record), he still wants to put the idea out there.

Hyperloop pods

So, what exactly is the Hyperloop? Musk had earlier teased with the notion that the Hyperloop is a cross between the concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table. He has now revealed (PDF) that it’s a sealed, low-pressure, two-way transport tube system (one tube running in each direction) that could connect cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles with a journey taking only about half and hour. Each Hyperloop pod would hold up to six passengers. Larger pods holding cargo (such as cars) could be built as well.

Musk asserts that such a system could be built for about a tenth of the cost of the proposed California high-speed rail project, and would travel about four times as fast. He says it could be installed along existing interstate right-of-ways, or even in highway median strips.

Hyperloop capsule in tube

From a traveler’s point of view, perhaps one of the best things about the Hyperloop, apart from the smooth, superfast ride, is that Musk also asserts that the price of a ticket could be as low as $20 for the 30 minute ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Not surprisingly, as one of Musk’s stated goals is to help make transport more sustainable, he maintains that the system could be powered with solar power. So what do you think of Musk’s Hyperloop idea? Is it something you’d like to see built in California or elsewhere?

Hyperloop pod

Images: Tesla Motors

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