Billionaire chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX visionary Elon Musk says he will release designs next month for a system capable of rapidly transporting people from Los Angeles to San Francisco via a tube in under 30 minutes.
In several recent Twitter posts, the real-life Tony Stark has stated he will be “happy to work with the right partners” on the project, called Hyperloop, as long as they share his vision of developing the technology “fast and without wasting money.”
Musk says he is welcoming “critical feedback” on the system and will publish his plans by August 12 as open source.
Last week, Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek that the tube would be powered by solar energy, go twice as fast as an airplane and be completely crash-proof. The Hyperloop would also be affordable, with tickets costing much less than a plane or train ticket. He called the tube system the “fifth mode of transportation,” after trains, planes, cars and boats.
In another Twitter post, Musk said the system will use pods about two meters, or around 6.6 feet, in diameter. He has described the Hyperloop as a "cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table," which conjures images of passenger-packed pods being blasted pneumatically through vacuum tubes.
While Musk’s claims might sound like science fiction, he has a track record to back them up. He is a co-founder of PayPal, the 182nd richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires list and chairman of SolarCity, which has more than quadrupled in value this year.
Last month, Musk announced that Tesla has introduced a system that allows battery packs in electric vehicles to be swapped in roughly 90 seconds. The system provides an alternative to charging EVs, helping to convince consumers that they are “more convenient than a gasoline car.” True to his showman nature, Musk gave a demonstration of the new technology on stage, switching out two Model S battery packs in less time than it took for a car on a video screen to fill up with gas, which took about four minutes.