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Hyperloop: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Wants High-Speed System Traveling L.A. To NY In One Hour

Elon Musk Wants High-Speed System

A Hyperloop system proposed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk would create a hyper-speed transportation system that can bring passengers from New York to Los Angeles in less than an hour, and it uses the technology you see inside your bank.

The high-speed transportation system, known as the Hyperloop, is a tube transportation system that allows passengers to travel at extraordinary speeds. It would mean travel across the nation in close to an hour, and Los Angeles to San Francisco in mere minutes.

One company called ET3 is working on what is known as an “Evacuated Tube Transport” that’s based on the same basic technology used on the series of tubes once used to send documents in banks, offices, and hospitals.

The company said it is working on a system to send car-sized transportation capsules up to 4,000 mph through giant tubes. Each car would carry up to six people.

Elon Musk has described the Hyperloop as a “cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table.” And despite the incredible speed, he said the transportation system would be completely safe.

“This system I have in mind, how would you like something that can never crash, is immune to weather, it goes 3 or 4 times faster than the bullet train,” said Musk last year. “It goes an average speed of twice what an aircraft would do. You would go from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes. It would cost you much less than an air ticket than any other mode of transport. I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it, you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There’s a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely.”

ET3 said the system would cost only a fraction of the proposed high-speed rail systems, and tubes could be built along major interstates. Tubes could even be built underwater, allowing travel to Europe or China.

If Elon Musk and ET3 could complete the Hyperloop system, it would make other efforts to build high-speed rail obsolete. In California a proposed $70 billion high-speed rail system would bring passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in three hours — about six times slower than the Hyperloop.

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14 Responses to “Hyperloop: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Wants High-Speed System Traveling L.A. To NY In One Hour”

  1. Anonymous

    your 15 min google search after reading the other terribly researched articles the last couple of days must not have turned up the Elon Musk tweet about Hyperloop: "Not a vac tunnel, btw".

    And to say that ET3's ETT system is the same as a bank is also pretty stupid.

  2. Weifan Chang

    This is how you SELL an idea in the US. High speeds? Check. Low Cost? Check. Absolutely safe? Checkity…check. Now start doing cost estimates.

    And, let's start asking some other questions. Specifically, the capacity. Unless you have freakishly high frequency (which raises questions on safety and cost), there is no way this thing can support the masses. Even if the service is launched by minute, you would only be able to serve no more than 400 people per hour. High speed rail is designed to relieve congestion on the freeways and airports by having an hourly capacity of more than 50,000 riders.

    It's a complete different scale.

    The outcome? This "hyperloop" will truly become a service for the rich, and the rich only.

  3. Yon Friedmann

    Looks like Elon Musk took an idea from somewhere else to make it his own (i.e. et3 and/or more comprehensive, the Aqua=Terra T.W.I.N.S. projects). Calling it by another name does not necessarily make it a Musk product.

  4. Anonymous

    Whoa, 400 people per hour is the type of number that totally destroys the ET3 consortium!

    Except that your number is completely wrong.

    I'll assume you took 6 people in a capsule, said launch 1 every minute and arrived at 6 people per launch x 60 launches per hour < 400 people per hour. all that means is if you are standing at the tube entrance 400 people will pass by you every hour. That doesn't really tell you much about transportation capacity.

  5. Weifan Chang


    Please teach me the wondrous alternative method of calculation you used, O great master. I'm all ears.

  6. Daryl Oster

    Weifan Chang ET3 operates like an automobile on a freeway, except ET3 can safely operate at much higher frequency than a car on a road since capsule speed, timing and spacing is automated. So the capacity of an ET3 tube scales with velocity. At 350mph a single tube can safely carry over 10 capsules per second (2 lanes of freeway can carry 1 car per second). It will take many access portals to exploit this capacity. The access portal cost scales with demand.

  7. Weifan Chang

    Daryl Oster
    True to an extent, but not to the extent in which you suggest. Many mass transit systems in the world are automated, but have a minimum headway distance between vehicles. This minimum headway distance is measured by how far it would take the vehicle to safely come to a complete stop in the event of an emergency, multiplied by a certain margin of error. Automated systems can reduce this margin to nearly zero, but it cannot support travel frequencies at 10 capsules per second unless ET3 can somehow slow the capsules from 350 mph to 0mph within a fraction of a second without killing or severely injuring the passengers inside.

  8. Ben McLeish

    OMG the writing is so bad! "ET3 is working on what is known as an “Evacuated Tube Transport” that’s based on the same basic technology used on the series of tubes once used to send documents."

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