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What Is the Hyperloop?

The internet has been buzzing with news of the first Hyperloop test. But what, exactly, is the hyperloop?

By
Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #221

How Much Will It Cost?

Most of this sounds like a Sci-Fi movie. Tech billionaire founder of a handful of successful and world changing technologies is going to shoot us around in tubes. It’s awesome, but the one thing on everyone’s mind is “How much is this going to cost?”

The only price I’ve seen actually quoted is the cost of the 350-mile stretch between LA and San Francisco, for a cool $6-7 billion dollars. That may sound like an extreme number, but to give that number some perspective, currently California’s high speed rail is slated to cost around $68 billion dollars for a similar LA to SF system. I personally think that’s generously optimistic, however, even if it were half the cost of the high speed rail, it would be an incredible savings. That’s especially true when you consider the high speed rail is less than one-third the speed of the Hyperloop.

How Feasible Is It?

When I first heard about this idea back in 2013, I thought that it sounded cool but had a lot of science to catch up on first. On May 11, 2016 though the first open air test of the technology was performed. I’ve posted a link to this video in the show notes of today’s episode. While this video lacks a tube, it does prove the working technology of the capsule. That’s progress for sure. I’ll be extremely interested to see how it progresses as they perform later reduced pressure tests.

What’s the Timeline?

Alright you’re probably thinking “When will I get to ride in the Hyperloop?” Well it could be as early as 2018. Elon Musk was quoted as stating that timeline to CNBC. Now that’s for just a section of Hyperloop track and not the full length of Los Angeles to San Francisco however that’s still an exceptional timeline!

Now I would say Elon Musk was crazy, except I’m sure he’s been told that many times, and more often than not I bet proven many people wrong. After all in just 14 years he’s built, launched, and is now contracted by NASA to send supplies to the International Space Station!

Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

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About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.

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