HOME     MENU     SEARCH     NEWSLETTER    
NEWS & INFORMATION FOR TECHNOLOGY PURCHASERS. UPDATED 2 MINUTES AGO.
You are here: Home / Innovation / Elon Musk Vision: 800-mph Hyperloop
Elon Musk's Vision: 800-mph Hyperloop Transportation Pods
Elon Musk's Vision: 800-mph Hyperloop Transportation Pods
By Barry Levine / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
AUGUST
12
2013

A solar-powered, city-to-city transportation system that runs at 800 mph and sells passenger tickets cheaper than Amtrak. That's the Hyperloop vision of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX and co-founder of PayPal, who unveiled his concept Monday after more than a year of speculation about what he had in mind.

Musk had dropped hints over the last year about his concept, so there was more than a little anticipation. According to Musk, the Hyperloop would be cheaper to build, safer, more resistant to earthquakes and less "disruptive to those along the route" than other forms of transportation. He has also said the Hyperloop would never crash, was immune to weather, would go three to four times faster than a bullet train and would have an average speed twice that of an airliner.

He told news media that a Hyperloop connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco could be built as an elevation that follows I-5, so that farmers would have access to their land between the columns.

The Kantrowitz Limit

To ride on this train, you'd sit in an aluminum pod that is traveling through a low-pressured steel tube. The pods use magnetic linear accelerators to get started, with occasional boosts from external linear Relevant Products/Services motors. Then the pods would float on air, propelled by a powerful fan at the front of the pod that pushes air to the rear. Solar panels on the top of the tube, Musk said, would generate energy "far in excess of the energy needed to operate" the system.

The electric compressor fan on the pod's nose would also be needed to overcome something called the Kantrowitz limit. This is a minimum tube-to-pod area ratio, Musk said, "below which you would choke the flow" because the pod would end up pushing the entire column of air in the system as if it were pushing fluid through a syringe -- thus slowing it down. The air-cushion part of the concept has been compared to the pneumatic tubes used to shuttle capsules of paperwork around in old buildings.

A Mere $6 Billion

Musk envisions Hyperloop pods leaving a station every half-minute, each containing 28 people, and that the cost for the system along the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco route would be a mere $6 billion. By comparison, the proposed high-speed rail system that is intended to run between San Francisco and Los Angeles at 200 miles an hour would cost $69 billion, and would not be completed until 2029 at the earliest.

Musk said that, given his day jobs of helping to create the electric car industry and the commercial space travel industry, he's too busy to actually undertake this Hyperloop project, but he hopes someone will. He has issued a 57-page PDF explaining what he calls this alpha version, and has promised to release an open-source design that can be used by anyone willing to undertake the project.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Joao De Sousa:
Posted: 2013-08-21 @ 3:31pm PT
Great stuff. Let's put it to work, in action.

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
MORE IN INNOVATION

NETWORK SECURITY SPOTLIGHT
As Silicon Valley's security sector grows, Fortinet is looking to stand out from the crop of young upstarts and challenge industry leader Cisco by selling its own hardware, with the help of Meru.
NEWSFACTOR.COM
NEWSFACTOR NETWORK SITES
NEWSFACTOR SERVICES
© Copyright 2015 NewsFactor Network, Inc. All rights reserved. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.