Elon Musk to build a Hyperloop test track. Will he work with ET3?
Why a Hyperloop and what is it?
The goal is to allow travel on the earth’s surface at the same speed achieved in space (approx, 6,500 km/h).
This is achieved using evacuated (high vacuum) tubes through which frictionless Maglev cars/capsules are propelled. In the drawings I’ve seen put out by ET3 (Evacuated Tube Transport Technology) out of FL, the capsules are 5ft in diameter.
ET3 capsules weigh 183 kg (400 lbs) and can carry up to six people or 367 kg (800 lbs) of cargo.
Two tubes are built along a travel route. Airlocks at stations allow transfer of capsules without admitting air. Linear electric motors accelerate the capsules, which then coast through the vacuum for the remainder of the trip using no additional power. Most of the energy is regenerated as the capsules slow down.
What are the advantages of a Hyperloop?
According to ET3 the Hyperloop approach delivers the following:
- Requires 1/20th the material that’s required to build a high speed train.
- With automated passive switching, a pair of ET3 tubes can exceed the capacity of a 32 lane freeway.
- The infrastructre can be built for 1/10th the cost of High Speed Rail, or 1/4th the cost of a freeway.
If a Hyperloop was constructed between Los Angeles and San Fancisco, travel time between the two cities would be reduced to <30 minutes. The distance between these two cities is 318 miles (613km)
What are ET3’s short term goals?
ET3’s short term focus is to finalize the location to build a production ready demonstration of ET3 to operate at 600km/h (375mph). The ET3 demo requires 3 miles of straight right-of-way, and will showcase all elements necessary to network ET3 on a regional basis.
Where does Elon Musk come in?
Good question. We do not know if there have been discussions between Musk and ET3 but you’d have to think there have been.
In 2013 Musk shared his thoughts on the Hyperloop between LA and San Francisco but indicated that he would not fund the project. Katie Lobosco of CNN Money reported on January 15, 2015 that Elon Musk sent out a tweet sharing he would construct a Hyperloop test track in Texas and make it available to companies and students.
Does this mean that ET3 and Musk would work together to build the 3 mile test track? We don’t know but it looks as though momentum is building.
What role can Value Innovation play here?
A great place to start would be to develop a set of Value Curves with metrics for commuters and travelers comparing many different ways of moving from A to B locally, within country and across country borders. We could do the same thing for freight companies.
We could compare flying, driving by car or truck, regular train, high speed train, other forms of transportation and look at the infrastructure piece as well. The curves would tell a very interesting story and make it clear what value ET3/Hyperloop technology would bring to Federal, state and local governments, commuters/travelers and how it would really change the game for players like the airlines, railroad companies, freight companies, construction companies, etc.
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