But it's becoming a reality.
A few years ago Elon Musk got a screw loose and said there should be a way to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than 30 minutes. Musk called it the Hyperloop, but between going into space and throwing keys at cars he couldn't squeeze it in. That's when a company called Hyperloop Transportation Technology stepped in to put on the straightjacket. Apparently they got too close and caught some of the crazy, because now HTT is saying there's been a breakthrough.
Late last year Musk announced plans to begin construction of a test track for the Hyperloop, and now there have been developments for the framework and we could be seeing the Hyperloop accept passengers by as early as 2018. The Hyperloop would obtain dangerously close to 800 horsepower and cost less than any railway projects underway or proposed. You may remember way back when in the early 2000s when there were propositions to build a high-speed railway from LA to SF. It would have gone about 220 mph and cost around $6.5 billion, plus about $30 billion in developments, or about $82 million per mile if you like. To put it in perspective, HTT is saying the Hyperloop will cost about $20 million per mile.
Initially it was self-funded, but construction has attracted the attention of people from NASA, Boeing, SpaceX, Tesla, and about 600 investors. Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of HTT, calls it more of a movement than a company, seeing as how HTT has an element of crowdfunding thrown into the mix as well. HTT has bought land in Quay, a small 75,000-person town in between SF and LA in King's County. It's hoping to turn it into a test track, which will later act as a piece of the final product. Construction is slated to begin in Quay this year, as Musk has built his own track at his company SpaceX where students can give their own creative input for the Hyperloop. Another startup, Hyperloop Technologies, is building a track in the California desert.
This is a massive project that could change everything about, well, everything. HTT has said that its goal is to make the Hyperloop affordable to everyone, and the cheaper construction cost means this is a definite possibility. Living and working in SF would no longer be a problem, as there would be no need to pay those outrageous rent prices. Of course there's much more to figure out. For starters, 800 mph will probably demand a lot from the human body, but that just makes it more exciting to see the technology that will emerge from the project. One thing's for certain: The smart money says the people involved are more qualified than anyone on the planet.