Despite every intention and many millions of venture dollars, there’s no denying that the Hyperloop is dead – except as a visitor attraction at Disney World and Dubai City. As a mass transit system between cities, it is an abject failure.
While the idea of sending pods of people and freight zooming at Mach speeds through the ‘inner space’ of a vacuum tube is enough to get every geek in Silicon Valley quivering with excitement, the actual burden of doing it safely and sustainably for 600km – from San Francisco to Los Angeles – is another matter entirely. It’s a question of simple thermodynamics; creating and sustaining a vacuum, even a partial one, over an extended distance requires enormous amounts of power. Even if it’s solar power, it’s not efficient, and that pesky atmosphere of ours is always trying to get back in.
A conventional maglev train only has to displace the air immediately in front of it, not all the air down the track at once!
But within cities, Tesla Tunnels are stealing the show. Elon Musk very cleverly got his Boring Company to dig tunnels that were too narrow for conventional traffic; only self-driving Teslas can navigate them effectively and safely. And with a separate tunnel required for each lane, in each direction, that’s a lot of Teslas. Which is probably why their stock is riding so high.
Come to think of it, there’s a pattern here: Starlink satellites creating demand for SpaceX launches, Boring Company tunnels creating demand for Tesla cars… he’s a smart guy, our Elon!
Image credit Elon Musk