In a telephone press conference this morning, Elon Musk, the many-faceted founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, expanded his earlier Hyperloop reveal by announcing that he will develop and construct a Hyperloop demonstrator. He believes that a properly funded consortium would take about seven years to build a commercial Hyperloop.
An informal team of a dozen engineers chosen from Tesla Motors and SpaceX worked for about nine months on the conceptual and modeling foundation underpinning the Hyperloop. “We were just batting it around in the background at SpaceX and Tesla and then in the last few weeks we ended up allocating some full-time days to it,” Forbes reports Musk as saying.
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The Hyperloop experience is expected to more closely resemble an airplane ride than that of a train. “There will be initial acceleration and once you’re at traveling speed you wouldn’t really notice the speed at all,” Musk is reported to have said. “It should just feel really super smooth and quiet, and obviously there wouldn’t be any turbulence or anything.”
Musk reiterated that the Hyperloop is aimed at high-traffic links between cities separated by less than about 1,000 miles (roughly 1,500 km). For longer distances, he believes the economics of a supersonic airplane with a low sonic profile will win out. Might such an airplane be his next project?
We'll be taking a closer look at Musk's Hyperloop in the coming days.