Elon Musk’s hyperloop vision will be “passenger ready” by 2018

Hyperloop transportation

Elon Musk’s vision for a 76 mph vacuum transport system known as a “hyperloop” is expected to be “passenger ready” by 2018.

Construction permits for the first hyperloop have already been filed by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT). The track is Quay Valley, California is expected to be completed by 2017 and ready for public use the following year.

The Hyperloop was originally conceived by Elon Musk in a white paper released in 2012. Musk at the time called it a “fifth mode of transport.”

“There are several main issues with today’s transportation systems,” HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn tells Newsweek. “It’s a dinosaur industry. There is no railway that is profitable without government subsidies if you take everything into consideration. Our unique levitated low-pressure energy balance allows us to have very low operational costs and be profitable in a very short time span.”

HTT isn’t the only company jumping on the Hyperloop bandwagon. Hyperloop Technologies, headed by former Cisco executive Rob Lloyd, began construction on a two-mile test track earlier this month in Nevada.

The “elevated” design is only slightly elevated off the ground in one artist rendering of the nation’s first hyperloop system.

Hyperloop terminal

Elon Musk is not being consulted for either design. However, Musk is planning to build his own test track in Texas. That track will be used to help HTT and other companies develop their own systems and to make them more efficient.

“The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1,500km or 900 miles apart,” Musk wrote in the paper. “Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper.”