Elon Musk, the billionaire US entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, revealed details Monday for Hyperloop, a superfast mode of transportation that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.
The idea for Hyperloop, which was floated nearly a year ago, was borne out of Musk’s disappointment with California’s approval of a $70 billion high-speed train, a project he has criticized as too slow and expensive.
In a 57-page design plan, Musk describes Hyperloop as a solar-powered system that would shoot up to 28 passengers in each enclosed aluminum pod (see artist rendering) through a low-pressure steel tube at up to 800 miles per hour. Musk proposes pods for cars as well. The total cost of the Hyperloop passenger transportation system as outlined as less than $6 billion, Musk says. The passenger-plus-vehicle version would cost $7.5 billion.
Musk has invited the public to improve upon the plan and has open sourced his initial design concept.
In June, Tesla Motors debuted a system that swaps battery packs in electric cars in about 90 seconds. The system offers an alternative to charging EVs and should help convince consumers that EVs are “more convenient than a gasoline car,” Musk said at an event unveiling the technology.
Musk demonstrated the new technology on stage, swapping out two Model S battery packs in less time than it took for a car on a video screen to fill up with gas, which took about four minutes.
A battery pack swap will cost between $60 and $80. This is about the same as filling up a 15-gallon gas tank. The stations will each cost about a half a million dollars to build.
The battery swap stations will be located alongside Tesla’s fast-charging stations. The free fast-charge stations take about 30 minutes to charge a battery. “The only decision you need to make when you come to one of our Tesla stations is do you prefer faster or free,” Musk said at the event.
Tesla will roll out the battery swap technology this year, first between Los Angeles and San Francisco and then in the Washington-to-Boston corridor.
Artist rendering courtesy of Elon Musk