The interesting thing is at the time he introduced Hyperloop, Musk wasn’t planning on doing it himself. Rather, he was just proposing something that others could take up. Two companies were indeed formed to build the Hyperloop system. One was called Hyperloop One (now called Virgin Hyperloop One after Richard Branson invested into it) and the other is Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.
Virgin Hyperloop One has gained a lot of attention because of Branson’s involvement and the news that Colorado Department of Transport has partnered with the company to look into constructing a Hyperloop linking the Denver International Airport to nearby cities such as Vail and Pueblo.
“With Virgin Hyperloop One, passengers and cargo will be loaded into a pod, and accelerated gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. We’re incredibly excited about the technology behind Virgin Hyperloop One and the way it could transform passengers’ lives,” wrote Branson in a blog posting announcing his investment in the company.
Musk, who did not originally intend to be involved, has decided he wants to be part of the action as well. He has claimed that he has a verbal agreement from the US government to build a Hyperloop between New York and Washington DC. He also claims the trip would take only about 30 minutes.
Hyperloop could be built above or below ground. Musk is looking at the latter option through his company, the cheekily-named Boring Company. That company was not originally set up for Hyperloop. Rather it was intended to build a vast network of tunnels beneath major cities like Los Angeles where cars can be transported across town on an “electric skate” at speeds of 201.17 km per hour. Once they reached their destinations, they would be brought up above ground via elevators and driven on the roads again.
No congestion and fast speeds. The urban traffic jam problem would be resolved. That’s the idea anyway. Now Musk wants to include even faster, inter-city travel into Boring Company’s portfolio.
In July, the company announced: “At the Boring Company, we plan to build low-cost, fast-to-dig tunnels that will house new high-speed transportation systems. Most will be standard pressurised tunnels with electric skates going 201.17 km per hour. For long-distance routes in straight lines, such as NY to DC, it will make sense to use pressurised pods in a depressurised tunnel to allow speeds of up to approximately 965.61 km per hour (AKA Hyperloop).”