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You are here: Video > Zero To 4,000 Miles Per Hour In 3 Minutes: Hyperloop Tubes Could Make It Possible
Billionaire Pushes For Amazing 'Hyperloop' Tubes
Lately, Elon Musk seems to be challenging every preconceived notion of transportation. First, he took the auto industry by storm when he introduced the electric-powered Tesla Roadster and later the all-electric Model S sedan, dubbed the "automobile of the year" by Automobile Magazine, as well as Motor Trend. Then his company SpaceX became the first privately owned company to send cargo to the International Space Station.

Now, he is aiming to change the way we travel from city to city, and potentially around the globe, through a scheme that could cut down the travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to about thirty minutes.

He calls the idea Hyperloop, describing it as a "cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table," at the D11 Conference in May.

"How would you like something that can never crash? It is immune to weather...it goes about, let's say, an average speed of twice what an aircraft would do," Musk told PandoMonthly during a video interview last July. "And it would cost you much less than an air ticket...much less than any other mode of transport because the fundamental entry cost is so much lower. And, I think, we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it."

Theoretically, Hyperloop tube travel would use magnets much like a bullet trains to take passengers from one destination to another at unheard of speeds. The difference is the enclosed tube, which would allow the capsule to travel without air resistance and very little friction. It is potentially safer, too, than a train that rides on a track with open sides.

The idea has gotten renewed attention after Yahoo! News published additional details earlier this week. Update: Musk revealed via Twitter that he "will publish Hyperloop alpha design" next month.
This idea, however, is hardly a new one.

Business Insider recently pointed to a 1972 report published by the Rand Corporation that details a similar idea. "The general principles are relatively straightforward: electromagnetically levitated and propelled cars in an evacuated tunnel," said the report's author R.M. Slater.

In an article we published last year, we introduced you to ET3.com, Inc., and their vision of tube transport that could theoretically take a traveller from Washington, D.C. to Beijing, China in around 2 hours.

According to ET3 the new tube transportation would be "Networked like freeways, the capsules are automatically routed like Internet traffic, yet a capsule can exit at any desired portal." The idea is that "car sized passenger capsules travel in 1.5m (5') diameter tubes on frictionless maglev...Linear electric motors accelerate the capsules, which then coast through the vacuum for the remainder of the trip using no additional power."

According to Musk, this would cut commute time from San Francisco to L.A. down to a mere 30 minutes, six times faster than current high speed trains, and around half the time of a flight, with (hopefully) much less hassle.

For more information on ET3, listen to this radio interview with the company's founder and CEO Daryl Oster from NPR's The Takeaway:



It may all sound like a "pipe dream," but Musk has increasing credibility with both the science/engineering and Wall Street/private equity communities. Two years ago, many doubted that his Tesla Motors electric-car company would succeed. After the company almost came apart due to management mistakes, quality issues and order fulfillment, Musk got investment from Toyota and a huge U.S. government loan. The company's Model S won the highly coveted Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2012, and the company's shares are trading near it's 52-week high of $133, a huge gain off its 52-week low of $25.52. Orders for the Model S are rolling in and the company is moving toward building a small battery-powered crossover vehicle. Its current market capitalization exceeds both Fiat and Peugeot.

Musk would also have credibility securing government loans for his Hyperloop scheme if he needs it as earlier this month he repaid over $400 million in Department of Energy loans he began receiving in 2010 for Tesla years ahead of time.

TRANSLOGIC 76: Elon Musk Interview, SpaceX

TRANSLOGIC Editor Adam Morath and AOL Autos Editor David Kiley contributed to this report.
AOL Autos accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own – we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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CAT

another toy for the rich. An't life just wonderful. So i will just keep working my but off so someday i can take a ride. LMAO

July 18 2013 at 3:57 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Just like the worthless "Sporting News" from AOL. You need to hire some "PROFESSIONAL" I.T. personnel.

July 18 2013 at 9:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jwmgrand

it will be full of gumwrappers , subway napkins, and soda bottles ... it will get trashed like a cta bus .... maybe in 200 years but not with these animals that exist today ... oh I forgot the graffitti also !

July 18 2013 at 9:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jwmgrand's comment
Colin

Due to the G's I think it will be crap and volmit

July 18 2013 at 10:23 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
edspot

Effective link pirating!

July 18 2013 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
starla

The headline states 4,000mph, the story reads twice what a jet can do, so about 1100-1200 mph. So which is it?

July 18 2013 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
superdave1953

It may be a long wait until it is available to the public. if ever. But, who knows what, innovations come from investigating this technology. Progress requires innovative thinking.

July 18 2013 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thefosz

...


What a great idea. But at this time the cost will be completely prohibitive for the average person. With the rich getting richer and middle class being destrxyed politically and financially the majority of people will never be able to afford it.



...

July 18 2013 at 8:28 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thefosz's comment
kay

A lot of cities are thinking about "high speed rail" Here in Florida I think from Tampa to Orlando, the cost was in the billions to build the rail. All taxpayer costs of course. Might cut down some traffic on I 4 but once you arrive at the other city then if you have to have a taxi to get to your job...what has this saved. Same thing here...most people would not be able to afford to use a rail as alternative transportation.

July 18 2013 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john loves linda

Im going to rush out and by stock in windex, because someone's going to have to wash the hand prints off the out side of the tubes, Maybe I'll buy one of those long handle squeegy things too.

July 18 2013 at 7:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
drakkusshadows

This behind a Nissan emblem??!?!?!

July 18 2013 at 7:37 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
mgraphix

Adaption of greener technologies has momentum. Solar took a long time but it's now accelerated, same with hybrids, etc. It's inevitable; I hope I'm around to use it. Initially hubs like airports between major cities will give way to spur lines like the railroads connecting the country years ago. This day will come: when the golden translucent colored tube, the section which connects the first run (NY and LA) is lowered into place somewhere in the midwest, to commemorate the 'golden spike', of the first transcontinental rail service. Build it along current rail lines or interstates as much as possible to move materials easily to the site (obviously cornering this baby will take more space) . The railroads, rather than try to stop it to save their industries, will champion it and derive income from it. Flight will continue to serve the growing population of travelers and connect the places the tubes haven't gone yet. By then, commercial jets will be at mach 2. Cool future, folks. Dig it. Probably 15 years before the first one is built. Maybe more.

July 18 2013 at 7:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mgraphix's comment
mgraphix

oh yeah, Elon Musk rocks. Paid back his loan 9 years early.

July 18 2013 at 7:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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