Asa Mathat | D: All Things Digital
Elon Musk has plans — or maybe it's just an idea — for a brand new form of transportation.
He calls it the "Hyperloop," and it's a way to travel long distances quickly.
At the D11 conference Musk danced around the topic a bit. He didn't want to talk about the Hyperloop because he wanted the focus of his interview to be Tesla.
The most he would say is that the Hyperloop is a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table."
"This system I have in mind, how would you like something that can never crash, is immune to weather, it goes 3 or 4 times faster than the bullet train," said Musk last July. "It goes an average speed of twice what an aircraft would do. You would go from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 30 minutes. It would cost you much less than an air ticket than any other mode of transport. I think we could actually make it self-powering if you put solar panels on it, you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There's a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely."
It sounds like a magical, impossible mode of transportation. But, Musk seems to be fairly serious about it.
He's interested in a Hyperloop because he thinks the high-speed train in California is going to be a waste. He says it will be the slowest bullet train in the world, and one of the most expensive.
Instead of going the bullet train route, California should test his Hyperloop, which he says he's planning to talk about in more detail at the end of June.
This isn't the only far-out idea from Musk. He thinks we need to leave Earth, or else we'll go extinct, and said that he did not join Tesla Motors to get a return on his investment.
Wednesday night, he announced plans for the dramatic growth of the Tesla's network of Superchargers, where owners can charge their car batteries halfway in 30 minutes.
By the end of this year, Musk said, it will be possible to drive from New York to Los Angeles by refueling a car only at the stations.
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