Elon Musk

Tesla Founder Elon Musk
Phil Stafford / Shutterstock.com

Daring to dream the impossible, Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk has revealed details for an ultrafast intercity travel vision.  Want to get from Los Angeles to San Diego in 30 minutes? Elon Musk believes it can happen with the Hyperloop.  The idea involves a solar-powered elevated tube that can transport people at high speeds between major cities.  The man that made electric vehicle driving cool is now going after the grid in an ambitious proposal, directly challenging the current plan for a high speed train system.  Musk calls the train plan highly inefficient.

The Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s answer to what he claims to be a slow, expensive train system in California.  Rather than create something slightly worse than what has already been built elsewhere, Musk is challenging Californians to reimagine the idea completely.  The Hyperloop would entail high elevation travel at supersonic speeds and is based on technology that is not new but has not been widely recognized or tested.

The system would entail a simple tube system that would carry propelled pods travelling at the appropriate speed.  Physics are worked out by an electric engine giving the pod a boost every 70 miles, and a solar-powered fan creating a cushion of air for the pod to travel along.  The tube would take up less land and therefore make the production much cheaper than a railway.  Musk’s proposal is over 50 pages long and details the physics, economics, safety and other feasibility arguments.  The paper is available on Elon Musk’s blog.

Tesla Motors, Musk’s company, has been gaining wild success this year as a high-end luxury vehicle that happens to have an electric motor.  After cofounding PayPal and also founding Space X, Musk continues to challenge the way society thinks about transportation and will no doubt leave a permanent mark on history.