John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Elon Musk Wants You to Build the Hyperloop

jetsons_tubeA few hours from now, Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk will describe in detail his concept for a “Hyperloop” — a new form of transportation he believes to be capable of carrying passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about half an hour. But he has no plans to build it himself. Not yet, anyway.

Asked during the electric automaker’s earnings call last week how Hyperloop might benefit Tesla, Musk said he really didn’t know, and made it clear that, while he’s offering up a first-pass design for the concept, he’s far too busy to see it through to fruition.

“… I think I kind of shot myself [by even] mentioning Hyperloop, because obviously I have to focus on core Tesla business and SpaceX business, and that’s more than enough,” Musk said. “But I did commit to publishing a design and [inviting] critical feedback to see if … people can find ways to improve it. Then it can just be out there as kind of like an open source design that maybe you can keep improving. I don’t have any plan to execute, because I must remain focused on SpaceX and Tesla.”

Understandable. With Tesla’s network of cross-country Superchargers in development, and SpaceX working on reusable rockets, Musk’s hands are plenty full. That he even managed to draw up an alpha design for Hyperloop in his spare time is astonishing. But what happens if no one rises to the challenge Musk presents this afternoon? Or if those that do lack the financial means to make Hyperloop a reality?

Said Musk, “If nothing happens for a few years … maybe it could make sense to make [a] halfway path with Tesla involvement, but … you shouldn’t be speculative.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik