Solar-powered futuristic ‘Hyperloop’ megatrain idea unveiled

A US billionaire entrepreneur has unveiled a new public transport system which he claims could take people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just half an hour. The founder […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A US billionaire entrepreneur has unveiled a new public transport system which he claims could take people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just half an hour.

The founder of Tesla, SpaceX and PayPal, Elon Musk claims his supersonic ‘Hyperloop’ will be both cheaper and faster for travellers compared to a conventional rail link. The same 380-mile journey takes around an hour by flight and almost six hours by car.

He has described the technology as a “cross between Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table” and said it would be ideal for travel between cities that are about 900 miles apart.

The Hyperloop would be an elevated railway powered by solar panels, transporting people through a tube in “capsules” (pictured) or carriages at nearly 800 miles an hour.

A solar array covering the entire Hyperloop would power it with an average 76,000 horsepower (hp) or 57MW of energy every year, significantly more than the Hyperloop’s consumption of 28,000 hp or 21 MW on average.

Revealing the details in a blogpost, he added: “By placing solar panels on top of the tube, the Hyperloop can generate far in excess of the energy needed to operate. This takes into account storing enough energy in battery packs to operate at night and for periods of extended cloudy weather. The energy could also be stored in the form of compressed air that then runs an electric fan in reverse to generate energy.”

The capsules would carry 28 people each and depart as often as every 30 seconds during peak hours and two minutes on average from each terminal. The estimated cost of connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco is $6bn (£3.9bn) – a fare of around $20 (£13) for a one-way ticket.

Mr Musk has no plans to build the system immediately but said he wanted to reveal a detailed design of the concept to allow input from others.