Elon Musk Unveils Solar Powered Hyperloop Alpha Details

The eagerly anticipated details of the Hyperloop transportation system have been published.
  
Elon Musk, founder of Telsa Motors and SpaceX has released the details (PDF) as “open source” – meaning that anyone is welcome to build on the information or use the details as a basis to construct the Hyperloop.
    
The Hyperloop is envisaged to run in tubes operating under low pressure. Inside the tubes would be “pods” that carry passengers. An electric turbo compressor would take the air collected from air inlets in the front of the pods and deliver it to the skis upon which the pod sits. The skis are peppered with small holes through which the compressed air would be pumped to make an air cushion.
  
Initial thrust and re-boosting would be achieved through an electro-magnetic pulse delivered to magnets on the skis.
   
The pods would travel at just under the speed of sound – around 1,200 kilometres an hour.
  
While requiring significant power, Mr. Musk believes all the energy needed could be delivered via solar panels.
  
“.. 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, as demonstrated by LightSail.”
  
The cost of such as system would not be insignificant, however Mr. Musk says it could be constructed at a fraction of the price of the proposed California high speed rail project, less than 9% – and would be faster and far safer.
   
The Hyperloop journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco (around 600 kilometres) would be just 35 minutes. Far from being a transport option for the rich; Mr. Musk envisions a ticket price for the journey could work out to be as little as $20.
     
The full details of Hyperloop Alpha can be downloaded here (PDF)