IRL Iron Man

Elon Musk Pulls All-Nighter Before Unveiling His Science Fair Project

What, rockets AND electric cars are too much work?
FUTURISM. (Photo: Tesla)

FUTURISM. (Photo: Tesla)

Hey, do you love Space Mountain and hate bumper-to-bumper traffic? Boy, does Elon Musk have the highly theoretical transit system for you!

The PayPal cofounder just released the open-source plans for his pipe dream, the Hyperloop, along with some futuristic renderings we’re pretty sure he stole from Frank Herbert’s Dune. It’s basically the love child of a supersonic jet and the monorail at Epcot. Mr. Musk says it’s “the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart.”

Anything more and you just want to upgrade to supersonic air travel. (As one does.) Though he’s not entirely done hashing out the details, after pulling an all-nighter working on the plans: 

He makes a decent case that the economics of the project aren’t pure madness, though:

“The pods and linear motors are relatively minor expenses compared to the tube itself – several hundred million dollars at most, compared with several billion dollars for the tube. Even several billion is a low number when compared with several tens of billion proposed for the track of the California rail project.”

But as Mr. Musk has already informed everyone, between SpaceX and Tesla, he’s just got too much on his plate to flex with this right now:  “I wish I had not mentioned it,” he told Businessweek. “I still have to run SpaceX and Tesla, and it’s fucking hard.”

Given we can’t even get anything faster than Acela in the Northeast Corridor, where trains are pretty popular, it’s hard to imagine anyone beside Mr. Musk would be willing to take this on, even assuming the plan’s perfect.

Unless someone wants to convince Larry Ellison this has something to do with sailing?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com