On Monday, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled a transportation concept that he said could whisk passengers the nearly 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes — half the time it takes an airplane.
"Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome (someone please do this), the only option for super fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment," Musk wrote in his proposal, posted online.
Capsules could depart every 30 seconds, carrying 28 people, with a projected cost of about $20 each way, according to Musk’s plan, which was posted online athttp://www.spacex.com/hyperloop . The proposed route would follow Interstate 5 — a well-traveled path linking California’s north and south through the agriculture-rich Central Valley.
On a conference call Monday, Musk said that if all goes right, it could take seven to 10 years for the first passengers to make the journey between California’s two biggest metro areas. He put the price tag at around $6 billion — pointedly mentioning that’s about one-tenth the projected cost of a high-speed rail system that California has been planning to build.
Indeed, the Hyperloop was inspired by that rail system, which has a cost too high and speed too low to justify the project, Musk said.
In a written statement, California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richardsuggested that Musk was oversimplifying the challenges.
"If and when Mr. Musk pursues his Hyperloop technology, we’ll be happy to share our experience about what it really takes to build a project in California, across seismic zones, minimizing impacts on farms, businesses and communities and protecting sensitive environmental areas and species," Richard said.
Like the bullet train, the Hyperloop didn’t take long to attract skepticism.
See on www.sfgate.com