Tesla Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk says he'll announce on Monday plans for the Hyperloop, a proposed new form of transportation the 42 year-old entrepreneur has described as a “cross between Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table.” Musk says the Hyperloop will eventually transport passengers from New York City to Los Angeles in 45 minutes.
UPDATE: The Hyperloop "Alpha" has been unveiled. See all the photos from Musk's proposal here.
Musk told Twitter followers he'd publish plans for the Hyperloop by Aug. 12 and told investors Wednesday that he had “no plans” to build the transport system. In the second-quarter earnings call, Musk said that he'd eventually consider building the Hyperloop with Tesla involvement “if nothing happens for a few years with that ... but it is extremely speculative.”
Musk said in the Q&A that he wished he hadn't mentioned the Hyperloop, saying he's “strung out” and too busy running Tesla and SpaceX to work on the project. Musk has said on Twitter that he'll publish the plans “open source” and without patents unless they're “critical to company survival.”
1:27 p.m. EDT (UPDATE): Elon Musk has updated his Twitter account to announce that he'll make the Hyperloop announcement later today. Click here to read what time Musk will be unveiling the design.
The first stage of the Hyperloop will transport passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. If it's successful, Musk says, a second loop will eventually connect Los Angeles to New York City. The Hyperloop will “never crash, is immune to weather” and is “three or four times faster than the bullet train,” he said. Musk also says the Hyperloop would consume less solar power than it collects and could run "24/7 without batteries. Yes, this is possible. Absolutely."
Musk said that he'll publish the plans “open source” and without patents unless they're “critical to company survival” -- that means anyone with the time and resources will be able to implement the Hyperloop's design, without having to pay to license it. Musk has proposed a first stage of the Hyperloop that transports passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. If it's successful, a second loop will eventually connect Los Angeles to New York City, he said. The Hyperloop will “never crash, is immune to weather,” Musk said, and is “three or four times faster than the bullet train.”
The Hyperloop would need to be less expensive then traveling by plane, Musk says. He told Twitter follower and “tinkerer” John Gardi that his design was the “closest guess so far.” The International Business Times’ Ryan W. Neal wrote an in-depth look at Gardi’s proposal that describes just how the Hyperloop could be made a reality, which you can read here.
Film director Jon Favreau has said that Musk was the basis of Tony Stark -- the title character and superhero “Iron Man” -- thanks to a suggestion from actor Robert Downey Jr. Musk has ignited the imaginations of geeks and enthusiasts worldwide for taking lofty ideas and making them a reality.
Musk, in addition to Tesla Motors, founded private spaceflight company SpaceX -- the first private company to launch and dock a rocket with the International Space Station. Musk hopes SpaceX will someday transport humans to Mars. The Grasshopper, a reusable rocket under development by SpaceX, is capable of launching into the lower atmosphere and then landing itself safely back on Earth. The Grasshopper recently set a flight record by reaching an altitude of 1,066 feet, and you can see the launch test here.
We took a few possible Hyperloop inspirations and compiled a list of the top five things the Hyperloop might look like, which you can check out here. Is the Hyperloop going to change the way we travel or has Elon Musk bit off more than he can chew this time around?