In news that may finally make us feel like we’re living in the future, Elon Musk says he got a “verbal” approval from the government to build an underground Hyperloop between New York and Washington, D.C. A trip that would usually take three hours by train would be only 29 minutes in the 700 mph Hyperloop. The route would also cover Philadelphia and Baltimore.
The announcement, of course, came as a tweet:
Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017
How soon will we see this happen? Musk tweeted that there’s “still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval,” but he’s optimistic that it “will occur rapidly.” Replying to those who can’t wait to have this happen in their own city, Musk also encouraged people to contact their elected representatives to drum up support for building hyperloops.
Indeed, many regulatory hurdles need to be overcome for this to become a reality but Elon Musk’s recent participation in President Trump’s council seems to bode well for him being able to go around some hurdles, especially as the White House plans to push for large infrastructure projects of this kind. For its part, White House officials confirmed they had "promising" discussions with Musk's executives about hyperloops.
Hyperloops are being designed around the world, based on the original open-source concept by Elon Musk. They utilize pods to send passengers and cargo at speeds over 700 mph. The pods have electric motors and use magnetic levitation to travel in a vacuum environment.
While he recently founded the tunnel-drilling The Boring Company to initially alleviate traffic congestion in Los Angeles, it’s clear Musk's plans extend all over the United States. After the NY-DC line, he sees creating a Hyperloop between Los Angeles and San Francisco, followed by a Texas loop.
Musk further elaborated that the idea is to have the travel go from “city center to city center” with up to a dozen elevators in each city for entering and exiting.
City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017
Here’s a recent successful test of Hyperloop One, one of the companies set up to make hyperloops a reality:
Elon Musk takes part in a seminar on the business of the future at the economy ministry in Berlin on September 24, 2015. (Photo credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images).
Hyperloop concept art credit: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.