As promised, California Billionaire Elon Musk published the details of his new project Hyperloop on Monday. It is a revolutionary system of transportation that allow you to travel the route Los Angeles-San Francisco in less than 30 minutes. The passengers traveling within capsules of aluminum at a maximum speed of approximately 1,200 Km/h. According to the founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Hyperloop is a viable alternative to the expensive (and slow) high-speed rail line linking San Diego to Sacramento.
Therefore, Hyperloop is a fifth type of transportation that is an addition to the current four viz. plane, train, car and ship but with the best design and specification. In fact, the system is less expensive to design, safer, faster, immune to weather conditions and earthquakes, self-sustainable from the energy point of view and non-destructive to the landscape. The estimated cost of the entire infrastructure is about $6 billion instead of high-speed rail line, which will cost over $70 billion. Musk has planned the prototype on a smaller scale within the next three or four years.
How does Hyperloop work?
Musk is inspired by the old pneumatic tube system that used to send letters and parcels between the buildings. Instead of using high velocity air to “shoot” the capsules from Los Angeles to San Francisco (or between two distant cities not more than 1,500 Km) as it would be impossible to put into practice because of friction, inside the tubes the steel tracks of capsules create a low pressure environment, using common compressors. To avoid the “syringe”, an electric compressor is mounted on the muzzle of each capsule that drives the high pressure air from the front to the rear, creating a sort of air cushion on which the capsule flows at high speed.
To provide the initial thrust to the capsules, outside the tubes (each 70 miles) there are the induction electric motors just like the Tesla Model S. Upon arrival, the process is reversed to stop the capsules. Along the entire route, solar panels generate electricity and store in the batteries that can be used at night or when the sky is cloudy.
Each capsule can carry up to 28 passengers. The interval time between two capsules is 2 minutes (30 seconds at peak hours), and an average distance of 37 Kms. The two steel tubes, which allow travel in both directions, are mounted on pylons placed every 30 meters, equipped with bearings to cushion the shock of an earthquake. Most of the route will follow the existing i-5 highway.
For a quick note, Hyperloop is the open source project, and everyone can contribute to its realization and send suggestions to the following addresses firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.