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Construction Begins on Elon Musk’s Exciting New Transportation Hyperloop

Feb 23 2016 Read 3113 Times

Earlier this month, we asked the question of how will we power our vehicles in the future – one potential solution is the electric vehicle (EV) industry pioneered by US billionaire and CEO of EV manufacturer Tesla, Elon Musk. Now, construction has begun on another brainchild of Musk’s which promises to be even more exciting and ground-breaking than his other work.

The Hyperloop is an incredible and innovative plan to build a vacuum tunnel, capable of achieving speeds of 800mph from one city to the next. A five mile test circuit has been announced and construction began on the prototype loop in Quay Valley in California earlier this year.

Incredible Speeds

The project was initially dreamt up by Musk as a means of transporting commuters safely and speedily over great distances in short timeframes. With a target speed of 800mph, Musk had envisaged a tunnel between San Francisco and Los Angeles which could traverse the distance in just 30 minutes.

The ambitious plans would far outstrip existing ideas for high-speed commutes. Earlier in the year, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released a draft of proposals for a 400-mile rail circuit which would be capable of achieving speeds of 220mph at the very most. Considering the fact that the project is estimated to be worth around $6.6 billion at the outset, rising to an eventual $33 billion, that’s approximately $82.5 million for every mile of track built. The Hyperloop project, in contrast, is being gauged at just $20 million per mile.

Of course, the technology itself is still very much in its infancy. As yet, there are no conclusive answers as to how to deal with traffic build-up, how to decelerate efficiently and safely, how the process might affect the human body and how to circumvent faults and mishaps in the system. With any luck, however, the five-mile test track should shed some light on these concerns.

A Busy Man

Musk is already an incredibly busy man, what with being the chairman of Solar City and the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla. In fact, the latter company have even branched out from their association with EVs to break ground in the solar power storage industry, installing the first Powerwall battery in the UK in February.

As such, he has taken something of a back seat on the Hyperloop project, subcontracting the idea to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), who are responsible for the pilot track in Quay Valley. The town itself is intended to be a futuristic and forward-thinking municipality, strategically positioned between LA and San Fran. The concept city will be powered entirely via solar energy and is being earmarked to host 75,000 residents, with the Hyperloop as its main transport infrastructure. Residents will be able to zip from one side of the town to the other in a mere 80 seconds.

Meanwhile, another company named Hyperloop Technologies is also making a play for the innovative transportation system, having begun work on their own test track somewhere in the Californian desert. Musk himself has even constructed a track at the headquarters of SpaceX, encouraging students to become involved in refining the technology.

As aforementioned, the technology is very much at the teething stage. However, if all goes to plan, we could have a revolutionary new method of getting around on our hands.

Image Source: Thomas Hawk     
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