The Hyperloop

Started Aug 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
Collett
Senior MemberPosts: 5,000
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Re: Its interesting alright but whats the capacity?
In reply to 57even, Aug 13, 2013

57even wrote:

Collett wrote:

I thought this story about an idea developed by Elon Musk (Telsa) was interesting. From the link:

"Serial entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk unveiled design plans for his Hyperloop -- a superfast transport system that could cut the travel time from Los Angeles to San Francisco to 30 minutes, and cost a fraction of the currently proposed high speed rail project.

Musk, a co-founder of PayPal and the man behind commercial space transport firm Space-X and electric car maker Tesla (TSLA), said up to 1,000 employees from both Tesla and Space X worked to come up with the idea, which is basically an elevated tube which moves travel pods at nearly the speed of sound.

In a technical paper published Monday, Musk said his idea is similar to the "old pneumatic tubes used to send mail and packages within and between buildings," but would operate under much less pressure to save on energy.

The cars would be pushed or pulled through the tube by a series of electric motors, possibly similar to the ones used by the Tesla Model S. Each car would be mounted with a fan in front to move the air out of the way. The air itself would then be directed underneath the car, forming a cushion on which it would ride. The entire thing would be powered by solar panels mounted on top of the tube.

Related: Elon Musk's greatest hits.

The tube itself could be built above ground, roughly following California's Interstate 5 highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Musk said it could cost less than one-tenth of the planed high speed rail system in California -- a project that's estimated to cost $70 billion. It would also be six times faster.

In fact, it was the high cost of the California train that prompted Musk to research the Hyperloop in the first place."How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL -- doing incredible things like indexing all the world's knowledge and putting rovers on Mars -- would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world," he wrote.

Experts say Musk's idea is technically feasible, but will be hard to implement primarily due to the cots of developing a demonstration project and the time it will take to get all the permits."

Looks interesting, especially if it can be done for the cost and the specs he has laid out.

Thoughts................

As a technical exercise its very cool, but not much use if it cannot handle the traffic density of a high speed rail. Also the long term maintenance and running costs are not really mentioned.

I totally agree that there are a lot of things to work out and that this is more of a concept used to sell an idea than anything else at this stage.  It is good, however, that someone is thinking outside the box.  That is how we sometimes get some great inventions, commercial applications, etc.

Rail is a major up-front investment, but it has a very long lifespan to pay it back, and trains can be upgraded continuously during that period.

True, but it seems to me that this approach has some of those favorable attributes as well.

The real issue is cost per passenger mile over 20 years. I don't see the figures for that.

On p. 6 of 'The Technical paper' linked above the go into it a bit "In this study, the initial route, preliminary design, and logistics of the Hyperloop transportation system have been derived. The system consists of capsules that travel between Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California. The total trip time is approximately half an hour, with capsules departing as often as every 30 seconds from each terminal and carrying 28 people each. This gives a total of 7.4 million people each way that can be transported each year on Hyperloop. The total cost of Hyperloop in this analysis is under $6 billion USD. Amortizing this capital cost over 20 years and adding daily operational costs gives a total of about $20 USD (in current year dollars) plus operating costs per one-way ticket on the passenger Hyperloop."

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