John Paczkowski

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Hyperloop: Elon Musk’s Really Rapid Transit System

hyperloop A “cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table” and “a really fun ride.”

That’s how Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk teased his mysterious Hyperloop rapid transit system earlier this summer at our D11 conference. Since that time, he has provided few additional details about the concept, which he claims should be able to carry passengers safely from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under 30 minutes for less than the cost of an airline ticket.

Until now. Moments ago, Musk published the Hyperloop alpha design he promised to deliver about a month ago. As you might expect, it’s a heady idea and complex, but the gist of it is this:

“Hyperloop consists of a low pressure tube with capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift. The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube with rotors contained in each capsule. Passengers may enter and exit Hyperloop at stations located either at the ends of the tube, or branches along the tube length.”

Fascinating, crazy stuff (about which you can read more here). But if it works as Musk believes it will, he may well end up revolutionizing transportation a second time.

Musk will hold a press conference at 2 pm PT to discuss the Hyperloop alpha. Check AllThingsD for coverage. Until then, here’s a brief video of his remarks at D11:


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