Elon Musk intends to make a dent in the universe, and his latest achievement gets him one step closer to doing so. The ingenious mind behind Hyperloop claimed, on Twitter, to have gotten a verbal government approval for his company to build a Hyperloop track from New York to Washington. A claim of monumental severity if it proves reliable.
Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s next big thing. After having revolutionised the automotive industry, space exploration, and the renewable energy sector, Musk is now pursuing what could be the next revolution in passenger transport since commercial airplanes. Hyperloop is Musk’s solution to fast transport, reducing travel duration, fossil fuel consumption, and congestion. The project comes about from the obsolete pneumatic tube technology, used in the late 19th century to propel cylindrical containers through a network of tubes. Similarly, Hyperloop intends to use magnetic levitation and near-vacuum conditions to transport humans from point A to B.
Musk’s company, the Boring Co. will be responsible for boring the world’s largest tunnel for the Hyperloop to operate underground. The current record-holder for this position is the famed Gotthard Base Tunnel, stretching along the Swiss alps for a whopping 57 km. Musk’s tunnel connecting New York to Washington would be around 370 km long, transporting commuters from city centre to city centre in 29 minutes. To put this into perspective, a recently opened stretch of subway in New York cost $4.5 billion for less than 4 kilometres of rails – a project initially proposed in 1919, and eventually realised this year, 2017.
So far, the Boring Co. has only been digging on SpaceX’s parking lot (Musk’s space exploration brainchild), and on the same premises a Hyperloop test track has been built, in which no human has ever ridden. Musk tweeted earlier this year that “Permits [are] harder than technology”, and although he has gotten a consent of sorts, the entire project will be a tremendous task to realise. Nevertheless, Elon Musk has a knack for making improbable projects lucrative, and this could be his next testament for that skill.
What do you think, can Elon Musk revolutionise passenger transport with his New York – Washington Hyperloop?