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Elon Musk unveils designs for Hyperloop transportation system

13 August 2013

Hyperloop

Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal and the electric car firm Tesla Motors, has unveiled a new transport system called 'Hyperloop', which could transport passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes.

The Hyperloop concept, which involves firing frictionless, magnetically levitated pod vehicles through a near-vacuum tunnel, would be solar-powered, safe and reliable regardless of weather conditions, according to Musk.

The US-based entrepreneur said people and cars could be transported between cities inside aluminium pods at around 800mph inside elevated tubes by using magnets and fans to shoot capsules floating on a cushion of air.

According to Musk, the Hyperloop system, which he said would cost about $6bn to implement between San Francisco and Los Angeles, could act as a fifth mode of mass transport after planes, trains, cars and boats.

"People and cars could be transported between cities inside aluminium pods at around 800mph inside elevated tubes by using magnets and fans to shoot capsules floating on a cushion of air."

If the transportation concept is implemented, it would allow passengers to travel the nearly 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes, compared to an hour and 15 minutes by plane and about 2 hours and 40 minutes with California's planned high-speed rail line.

Around 70 pods would travel between the two cities every 30 seconds inside low-pressure tubes designed to reduce friction and allow higher speeds.

Compared to the alternatives, the new concept would be safer, faster, lower in cost, more convenient, immune to weather, sustainably self-powering, resistant to earthquakes and would avoid disruption to those along the route, according to Musk.

The system is designed to be a closed loop for cities less than 900 miles apart that have high levels of traffic.


Image: Hyperloop could complete the 400-mile journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes. Credit: Tesla Motors.