Transportation has come a long way in the last 17 years. The idea that you could make a trip from New York City to Washington D.C., roughly 225 miles, in under a 30 minutes seems like an improbable feat. Elon Musk, however, is working to make it a reality. Here’s everything you need to know.
The current travel time from New York to Washington D.C., via an airplane is roughly 90 minutes, three and a half hours by train, and almost four hours by car (depending on traffic conditions). Elon Musk is proposing to cut that time down to under 30 minutes by building a hyperloop between New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C with at least a dozen entry/exit points in and around each city area.
What is a hyperloop you might ask? Well it consists of a massive low-pressure tube that contains a passenger pod that can move at up to 700mph, roughly 200mph faster than the seeped of most commercial airplanes. The pods are pulled by a magnetic attraction inside of the low-pressure tube. The tubes are kept at a low pressure to allow for faster travel, but keep a small amount of air to allow the pods to travel smoothly through the tunnel.
Musk announced on Twitter last Friday that he had received “verbal approval”, from the United States’ government, to allow The Boring Company to start the project. The Boring Company is Musk’s tunnel digging startup that is currently working on digging a series of tunnels in L.A. (Read more about that here.) Musk did not specify who gave him “verbal approval”, and this “verbal approval” was news to major players, like the mayor’s office in New York City. The project itself is a long way from being anywhere near official approval on paper, and it will probably be like that for some time.
Musk’s proposed hyperloop would stretch over 200 miles, across several state lines, and would need guidelines and regulations established before any work could start. Thus, the project is filled with red tape in an uncharted area of transportation. Besides all of the potential guideline and regulation issues, is the technology behind the hyperloop. Musk’s plan calls for a hyperloop that can achieve 700mph. Currently the faster hyperloop, made by Hyperloop One, can only travel around 70MPH. The Hyperloop One team has made some great progress. Unfortunately the technology behind the project will need to advance before we have the capability to achieve Musk’s goal.
If you were hoping to beat that traffic with this new hyperloop anytime soon, I hate to be the bear of bad news, but that will not be the case. The technology, regulation, permits, guidelines, and approval itself are still years away. However, Elon Musk is paving the way to reinvent human transportation. Who knows when this whole project will be finished, but when it is completed, it is going to change the game. Let me know what you think of Musk’s plans below! Until then we will just have to use our orthodox vehicles, bikes, and even our own two feet to get around town, for now.