As chief executive of electric car marker Tesla and Space X, a space transport company, Musk has used his impressive entrepreneurial skills to promote electric technology in the auto industry while advancing space travel projects through private enterprise.
On Monday Musk revealed fresh designs for yet another type of new transport system that is drawing a mixture of skepticism and interest as he seeks to lure private investors to support his new transportation project for the future in California.
Musk held a press conference on Monday where he unveiled a new blueprint for a high speed transport system that is capable of moving travelers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in only 35 minutes.
The project is called Hyperloop, a sealed capsule that could someday move 28 passengers traveling along the interior of the tube, departing on average every 2 minutes from Los Angeles or San Francisco (up to every 30 seconds during peak usage hours).
A larger Hyperloop system was also proposed that allows for the transport of 3 full size automobiles with passengers traveling in the capsule.
Many banks still use pneumatic tubes to shuttle money to bank customers who are waiting outside in vehicles for their bank transaction to be completed.
The acceleration process of Hyperloop is currently being used to move roller coasters at amusement parks. Hyperloop technology is capable of moving the capsule over 700 miles per hour.
According to the Hyperloop blog which Musk posted, the capsules are supported via air bearings that operate using a compressed air reservoir and aerodynamic lift.
The design plans call for the Hyperloop foundation to be built above ground, following California’s Interstate-5 freeway along the median with roof solar panels generating power from above.
California is currently working on plans to develop a new high speed bullet train that won’t be finished until 2029 and carries a whopping price tag of $ 68.4 billion with only $12 billion in secured funding.
Since California’s high speed train has recently been moved to the slow track and will likely be delayed until 2014 due to a host of issues ranging from permit problems to delays with contracts for construction companies, the timing of Musk’s new proposal could not have been better to force Californians to question their ongoing support for the massive high speed rail project that is experiencing large cost overruns and political bickering.
Musk claims that Hyperloop technology could be built for under $ 6 billion, a price tag that is raising some doubts and questions among experts in the transportation industry.
Musk reported that the passenger plus vehicle version of Hyperloop, including both passenger and cargo capsules, has a price tag of $7.5 billion.
Musk took a swipe at the high costs associated with California’s high speed rail project when comparing it against the lower cost of the Hyperloop transportation technology.
Musk expressed his disappointment with the California rail project and singled out the high costs involved for a high speed train that will be one of the slowest high speed trains in the world with speeds just reaching over 200 mph.
“When the California ‘high speed’ rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?”