Hyperloop looks a bit claustrophobic. The drawings released by Elon Musk yesterday show a capsule big enough for 28 passengers strapped in. No room to move about. No loo. You sit in your seat for the entire journey.
Musk says it’s only for journeys under 1,000 miles and it travels at 760 mph so you can probably endure a one and a quarter hour journey strapped in a seat. We do it in cars all the time. But in a capsule with little head-room or side-room?
If you’re paying $20 to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles in half an hour, it might be worth it to save time and airport hassle. But it doesn’t sound much fun.
The capsules float on air in partly evacuated tubes. A compressor in the front of the capsule sucks in the air feeding it to the air bearings.
Linear electric motors every 70 miles boost the capsules to cruising speed. Most of the time the capsules run unpowered.
Capsules could be launched at the rate of two a minute, and solar cells on the top of the exterior tube provide the power.
Musk suggests building the Hyperloop on stilts alongside the i-5 – the highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. He estimates the cost at $6 billion.
An elevated tube running through the desert looks vulnerable. The quality of the experience looks questionable. Somehow, I don’t think this will fly.