Hyperloop plans revealed Monday envision a 'fifth mode of transport' in which passengers travel at extreme speeds through tubes to reach their destination. Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, says the idea is 'extremely speculative.' But if Elon Musk's hyperloop is ever built, it could revolutionize transportation and energy.
"I've got a hyperloop to catch."
That's a phrase you might hear sometime in the future, if you believe Elon Musk. The driving force behind Tesla Motors' luxury electric car and SpaceX's forays into private space travel is throwing his weight behind a "fifth mode of transport." The hyperloop, as he laid out in plans late Monday, would whisk travelers in pods at about the speed of sound through tubes to reach their destinations.
It's not an entirely new idea, and Mr. Musk stresses that his plan is "extremely speculative." But if executed exactly as he envisions it, the hyperloop would offer a combination of high speed, low cost, and low emissions that would make planes, trains, automobiles, and boats look positively Stone Age.
"Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome (someone please do this)," Musk wrote in a 57-page proposal, "the only option for super fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment."