At long last, Elon Musk has released the information regarding his proposed high-speed transport system called Hyperloop. This system, outlined on Tesla’s website and available as a PDF download, explains exactly how travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles can be done in approximately 35 minutes without utilizing air travel.
Unlike many of Musk’s innovations, he is making all of the details of this project public. Presumably this is to make the product “open source” and have someone else fund the cost of the project. With an anticipated cost of nearly $6 billion, it is definitely not a small project for whoever takes it on.
Setting aside the obvious speed required, the amount of energy to make the journey per passenger is actually extremely low. The design of the system, even when carrying an automobile, makes the trip more efficient than it would be to make the same trip in Tesla’s Model S sedan (as well as other transportation methods).
To explain it as simply as possible, the Hyperloop system utilizes a series of tubes that have a partial vacuum inside them. Due to the vacuum there is less air resistance inside the tube, making it easier to accelerate to the speeds required.
Looking at the total cost including a vehicle transport compartment is $1.525mil. Once the Hyperloop is fully stocked, it will have $61mil spent on the capsules. But this cost breakdown is a bit deceiving. This does not include the infrastructure cost of building the tubes.
Overall the cost of building the Hyperloop system is less than $6bn USD. While that may be a lot of money for a state or local government to invest in, private investors and owners could very easily make it possible. Does Apple need a fast way to Los Angeles?