Elon Musk's Hyperloop: It can never crash; it is immune to the weather; fast (about 1200 km/hr), Solar Energy storage, runs 24/7

Elon Musk's Hyperloop: It can never crash; it is immune to the weather; fast (about 1200 km/hr), Solar Energy storage, runs 24/7

The most extraordinary part for me is that Elon Musk actually teally thinks that this IS possible. And if this really can be realised, this will change the way of long distance travel forever.

Please share your view, idea, opinion, information etc. with all of us.

holidayday | 10 février 2013

got a link to help us read more about it?
Hard to comment on just the title of the thread.

Is it a car? plane? spaceship? boat?

Brian H | 10 février 2013

He won't say, exactly. Teleportation may be involved.

Or not.

Sudre_ | 10 février 2013

I think it is an actually thing but Elon says it's not a car, plane, spaceship or boat. I think I saw it in a Doctor Who episode. If he can figure out what causes inertia and/or gravity he may be onto something.

Driver just called to deliver my car so I might continue this later......

Timo | 10 février 2013

Vacuum tube maglev train perhaps?

GeekEV | 10 février 2013
Timo | 10 février 2013

If not vacuum tube, is that fast and "can never crash" and "leaves when you arrive, so no waiting for specific departure time" I have no idea what that could be. Sounds nuts, if it would be "professor gravity" saying those things I would never believe that.

BjörnF | 10 février 2013


The suggestions are rather similar which might suggest that they are on to something. Or not :-)

Carl Barlev | 11 février 2013


+1 Timo.

Professor Gravity. Poor soul.

A good friend in New Zealand had a neighbour who genuinely believed he'd discovered free energy from perpetual motion motor, so I'm thinking there a chance PG could be genuine (in the sense that he actually believes all he's claiming in that other thread).

That was about 8 years ago and I haven't seen or heard anything of him or his discovery gain since... no doubt he's still hiding away in his garage perfecting the prototype.

'tis a fine line between genius and mad.

Benz | 12 février 2013

According to Google Maps the distance from Seattle to Miami is 3,355 miles (5,368 km). With the Hyperloop of Elon Musk this distance can be travelled in 4 hours and 30 minutes. Normally, if you would travel by road, this would take 48 hours. So, it is something to look forward to, I think.

danielccc | 13 février 2013

I'm sure it can crash. Whatever it is, there will always be a catastrophic failure mode if it carries that much kinetic energy and its made by humans.

Benz | 14 février 2013

I would say the same as you do, but you know, I am sure that Elon Musk would also say the same as you do, yet he does not. And that is the point. He specificly said: "It cannot crash". Maybe he has thought of something that we (all the other humans) never have imagined before. That would really be a breakthrough. Give him some time, let him do all the math that is needed, and someday he will reveal to us what it really is.

Brian H | 14 février 2013

The dominant speculation is that it's a pressurized tube, with air moving along with the capsules/cars. Air pockets separate and cushion them, so unless the "loop" is broken and turned into a giant peashooter, nothing can make the cars crash together.

danielccc | 14 février 2013

Well, everything can be broken. Earthquake, terrorism. It can crash. I mean, I am sure the concept is super duper safe as Musk might say. But never say never. Those "unsinkable" type quotes are deadly later on.

Timo | 14 février 2013

Only way to make system "never crash" is to have nothing to crash. If system includes people moving at near mach 1, then it can crash.

Benz | 15 février 2013

I agree that anything can break. But as long as it does not break, that would mean that it indeed would not crash either. For example, airplanes are thought to be the safest way of travelling, because a very low % of crashes do occur. My point is that if this % can be minimised to a level that is very close to "0", than wouldn't that be acceptabel as well? I mean to say that we know that airplanes can crash, but still we do keep using them as a means of transportation. Have I made my point here?

Timo | 15 février 2013

Problem is in Elon choice of words. "can never crash" not "near impossible to crash" or "safest transport on earth". "never" is kind of absolute word.

Could be that this is just exaggeration from too enthusiastic speak Elon made.

Benz | 15 février 2013

"Could be that this is just exaggeration from too enthusiastic speak Elon made."

Yes, that is correct. That just might be the case here.

Brian H | 15 février 2013

I suspect it's an "inherently safe" design, such that any system breakdown simply results in everything coming to a gentle stop.

Benz | 15 février 2013

That could safe many lives, you know.

Benz | 17 février 2013

And I actually think that Elon Musk is yet too busy with SpaceX and Tesla Motors, that he will not have the time to do much about the Hyperloop, anyway not in the near future. So be it. And let's enjoy what he already has given us.

wahTzeTuya | 9 mars 2013

It sounds like Heinlein's road from the story "The Roads Must Roll". where the roads are like conveyer belts. The statement that "It leaves when you arrive" points to something that is always moving. In the story you step on the outside belt which is moving slow. You work your way to faster and faster belts until you reach the fastest belt then you wait until it's time to revearse the proccess. The belts would be designed so if there was a breakdown the system would slowly shut down.

I can't explain why such a system would be cheaper to build than a bullet train or could store solar energy.

Just a thought.

FLsportscarenth... | 9 mars 2013

Sorry Elon, I think you are brilliant and all, but more practical stuff requires your near term attention... If he was talking about a practical and commercially viable electric Cessna plane or something like that I would get excited, but until I see a working model this hyperloop thing is as pie in the sky as commercial fusion power plants - maybe in 80 years but not yet.

Technology progresses incrementally, not in vast leaps. Unless you have been commuting back and forth to the future in your TARDIS or visiting an advanced civilization across the galaxy though your Stargate, reverse engineering stuff you see there, it just does not work that way...

GeekEV | 9 mars 2013

@FLsportscarenth - I think he is focusing on more practical stuff, which is why we haven't heard anymore on this in over a year other than the initial "hey, I have an idea"... As for technology progressing in leaps and bounds, you're forgetting some of the transition points that led to the technology we have today. Once electricity came onto the scene, technology definitely started leaping. Even more so with the invention of the transistor. And when the integrated circuit hit things really started rocketing forward. Sure, right now it all seems incremental (although fast moving) - but all it takes is for the next person to come up with the new electricity or the new transistor and watch it leap again. Perhaps Elon is that guy. We'll see.

FLsportscarenth... | 9 mars 2013

@Geek EV Time will tell, always does... For now I am skeptical of the viability and commercial potential of a hyperloop...

I was very skeptical of the survival and growth TM from the time I first noticed it in 2009 till the end of last year. Now I would say that it would be foolish to bet against them.

In 2009 I thought the PHEV ala the Volt would be the big change. I thought BEVs would not be practical for decades, the Model S has proven otherwise.

So anything is possible, but probably getting the FalconHeavy, Model X and S variants out and functioning well makes better use of his time and efforts in the near term.

GeekEV | 9 mars 2013

Agreed. And he said as much about it in his SXSW interview today (linked in another thread).

Benz | 10 mars 2013

@ Geek EV

Do you mean a link to a recording of that SXSW interview? I would like to see that recording, because I missed the live stream.

Brian H | 10 mars 2013

Yeah, that set of one-liner summary comments doesn't really cut it! >;p

GeekEV | 10 mars 2013

No, just the live blog with summaries. I haven't seen a video either.

Benz | 12 mars 2013

I think that this Hyperloop involves electromagnetic forces. And it will not have any wheels. Because it will have to go incredibly fast. Just a thought that I would like to share with you guys. Cheers

awootton | 12 mars 2013

I had an inkling of what it might be.
It think it might be a supersonic mag-lev inside of a 'tuned pipe'.
I wrote down here:

Brian H | 13 mars 2013

interesting, but 19km != 43 miles.

Benz | 13 mars 2013

@ awootton

Interesting indeed.

JrJerry | 13 mars 2013

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Hyperloop is a hypothetical mode of high-speed transportation proposed by inventor and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Musk has envisioned the system as a 'fifth mode' of transportation, an alternative to boats, planes, cars and trains.[1] The system would, in theory, be able to travel from downtown Los Angeles to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes.[2]

Musk first announced[when?] the Hyperloop at a PandoDaily event in Santa Monica, CA.[3] Details of the system are still emerging, and in September 2012, Musk likened the system to both a ground-based Concorde and a cross between a Concorde and a railgun, while noting that it has no need for rails.[3][4] Musk estimated the cost of the SF-LA Hyperloop would be about $6 billion, one tenth as costly as the proposed high speed rail serving those cities. He has revealed that it is not a vacuum tunnel.[5]

This system I have in mind, how would you like something that can never crash, is immune to weather, it goes 3 or 4 times faster than the bullet train... it goes an average speed of twice what an aircraft would do. You would go from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes. It would cost you much less than an air ticket than any other mode of transport. I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it, you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There's a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely. - Elon Musk, July 12, 2012

What you want is something that never crashes, that’s at least twice as fast as a plane, that’s solar powered and that leaves right when you arrive, so there is no waiting for a specific departure time,” Musk says. His friends claim he’s had a Hyperloop technological breakthrough over the summer. “I’d like to talk to the governor and president about it,” Musk continues. “Because the $60 billion bullet train they’re proposing in California would be the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile. They’re going for records in all the wrong ways.” The cost of the SF-LA Hyperloop would be in the $6 billion range, he says - Sept 13, 2012 [6]

JrJerry | 13 mars 2013
Skgot | 25 mars 2013

Yes, it will work. I believe Lego already implemented this technology on Mars in 2009:

TeslaRocks | 26 mars 2013

I was looking at Elon's tweeting history as a result of the new of his big tweet about Thursday (now postponed to next Thursday) and I came across a tweet from July 2012 about the hyperloop. He's been suggesting it for a while, now. In that tweet he says, no it's not a vacuum tube, so there goes by best guess. I have no idea. Just waiting for all the surprises... Elon, you make me feel like a kid on Xmas eve (but much more satisfying, of course).

Brian H | 26 mars 2013

Next Tuesday, not Thursday. Similar, but with more vowels.

TeslaRocks | 27 mars 2013

Maybe Elon or someone read my post about the hyperloop in another thread where I suggest the pod you rent should allow you to carry your Tesla car in the front section (no fossil fuel cars allowed, because too dangerous: fumes and air pollution, flammable, toxic, etc...) so you can just conveniently drive off when you get to destination. Maybe the big announcement next Tuesday (thank you Brian H for the correction) will be that Tesla car will be hyperloop compatible... and a simultaneous release of the hyperloop details would be nice, to give it credibility.

Brian H | 27 mars 2013

Or maybe the electric plane? It's been in the "works" (back of Elon's brain) for some time.

gommtu | 5 avril 2013

It must be a capsule with a variable magnetic field contained in a very high pressure para-magnetic fluid with low viscosity and other special aerodynamic properties.

The high pressure of the fluid ensures stability and its specific para-magnetic properties allow for variable modification of the forces induced. Sort of like a mag-lev in a high pressure fluid with these para-magnetic properties properties.

Whether its a something more like a ferro-fluid or the para-magnetism of liquid oxygen I can't guess.

Benz | 23 avril 2013

I just saw: "A conversation with Elon Musk" on YouTube.

In the last few minutes they talked about the Hyperloop.

After the earnings call of Q1 2013 in May, Elon Musk will reveal details about the Hyperloop.

You better watch it yourself:

Brian H | 23 avril 2013

Around 43:20, 'not before' the earnings call. Evacuated tube? 'Something like that'.

JirkaŠ | 8 mai 2013

I had an similar idea couple of years ago. I had a lot of dreamless nights about it. Mag-lev with three "rails" in "vacuum"(less than 0,3bar) tube. Fast, silent, safe, cost-effective, environmental friendly. But Elon talks about 1200km/h. I was thinking about something like 3000km/h it is limited on pressure in tube.
Some of my friends who I was talking about it tell me "When the electricity fails it will crash!" I said "No, if it has kinetic energy it could create magnetic field by itself generated current."
There could be used experience from German Transrapid and others.

FLsportscarenth... | 8 mai 2013


Funny, considering Elon's obsession with Mars...

I would love to visit Mars (or Antarctica) for an adventure but sure would not want to live there, I love palm trees and beaches, not freeze-dried wastelands...

AnOldBlackMarlble | 14 mai 2013

Here's my best guess.

A closed looping tube with pressure differentials from one end to the other. If it is made of transparent material that can be dimmed, like Smart Glass, then several miles of one end can be made opaque, to block out the sun, while the other end stays transparent. The opaque end remains at equilibrium temp with outside, while the transparent end heats up creating a pressure differential. Then by doing this back and forth between the two ends, and with well calculated ventilation vents, you would establish a "wind cycle" within the tube, like that of an electric motor. You could maintain the "wind" moving perpetually this way while added solar panels could power wind generators to ad a "boost" to the system in bad weather and at night. This way the "pods" would travel with the air, so no air resistance, and it might not even need a track, if the tube is slightly oval, and certainly no complex and expensive mag-lev tracks.

carlgo | 17 mai 2013

Whatever it is, Musk is well connected and so could probably arrange for a make a one-mile long test version, or even a scale model, and if it works and is cool and all then they will come. Needn't be all or nothing.

jk2014 | 17 mai 2013

+1 Anoldblackmarlble

I wonder if tesla/spacex has some odd pending patents that could shed some light?

Benz | 29 mai 2013

Will Elon Musk reveal some more info regarding the Hyperloop this evening (May 29th 2013) at the D11 Conference?

At the Khan Academy he then did actually say that he first wanted to make Tesla Motors profitable (which is a fact now), so I think it just might be possible that he will talk about it.

Any thoughts?

mdemetri | 29 mai 2013

Musk describes Hyperloop as “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.”

Annoucement after June 20th Tesla annoucement.

From the D11 interview tonight

Benz | 30 mai 2013

The "air hockey table" part is new, he did not mention that before. This should lead to new assumptions, I think.