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Old 08-13-2013, 06:53 PM   #41
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I don't know we put cars with gasoline on ferries and even hover craft all the time.
Not sure why having them in a low oxygen environment would particularly dangerous.
I've never been on a hovercraft, and every car ferry I've been on has had plenty of ventilation. I guess I've been influenced by my USN friends, who would seemingly have allowed a pallet filled with anthrax spores and plutonium dust aboard their vessels before allowing a thimbleful of gasoline. It is very nasty stuff, I'm sure if gasoline-fueled vehicles were just being proposed today they would never have been approved for sale.

I'm assuming any pods holding the cars would have to be pressurized to approx 1 atmosphere, else there would be all kinds of havoc with outgassing, foam upholstery issues, ruptures of sealed areas (instruments, etc). So, any leakage of gasoline would be in that pod, too.

But, compared to the other challenges faced by this concept, this would be trivial.
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:46 PM   #42
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A freight only prototype is actually a great idea. Maybe something to move mail from various post offices in LA to LAX.
Not trying to rain on anyone's parade...but are all of you wild supporters realizing the $$$ associated with these grand plans?

The infrastructure costs alone to build ANY 'prototype' or 'freight-only' system would be incredibly expensive compared with the alternative.

Yes, 'someone has to build it at some point'....but the problem is that you can't really build just a 'small version' of the concept from multiple post offices to the main post office, or 'just from point A to B' because running through ANY crowded metropolitan area these days with that dedicated infrastructure for a very small application base will make any route extremely costly.

You can build the capsule and levitate it in a small room....but beyond that, you can't really find too many applications where the (relatively) massive expense would really justify the benefit, compared to the alternative methods.


One thing I don't understand with his concept:

Quote:
The approach that I believe would overcome the Kantrowitz limit is to mount an electric compressor fan on the nose of the pod that actively transfers highpressure air from the front to the rear of the vessel. This is like having a pumpin the head of thesyringe actively relieving pressure.



So the basic concept is having a 'medium vacuum' in the tube...but then you're using high pressure air directed from the front of the capsule to the rear to help overcome the Kantrowitz limit?

And then you're having capsules depart the station every 2 minutes? That's a hell of a lot of air you're dumping into the tubes that you then have to suck back out with huge pumps...not to mention QUITE a bit of air that you have to store on each capsules for propulsion and to provide enough lift to overcome gravity, even if it were carrying people (much less vehicles or cargo)
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:47 PM   #43
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I don't doubt there are problems with the design. That's why it's an alpha design.
Will it ever be built? Who knows? Will some upstart young rocket company beat out the established aerospace companies when it comes to hauling supplies to the ISS and returning other material safely to earth? Well.....
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:54 PM   #44
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Musk wrote:

“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 1500 km or 900 miles apart. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper…"

Talk about supersonic air travel reminds me of the Boeing SST project that was cancelled in 1971. See: Boeing 2707 - Wikipedia.

And then, in the late 80s, there was a project called NASP (National Aero-Space Plane) that was advanced by DARPA. Even a small prototype carrying a crew of 2 was not completed and was cancelled in the early 90s. See: Rockwell X-30 - Wikipedia.

The only supersonic craft that had a commercial service record was the Concorde, and we know it met its demise due to cost. The Soviet Tu-144 had a very short life.

There are so many developments that fail, not because of technical feasibility, but because they are unsustainable due to on-going costs.

I'd rather hold my breath for my $20-25K EV. That's more doable. What that takes is less expensive lithium batteries. About the rest of an EV propulsion, what's there but an electric motor with electronic commutation, and which does not even need a gear train?
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:48 PM   #45
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Not trying to rain on anyone's parade...but are all of you wild supporters realizing the $$$ associated with these grand plans?
Wild supporters? I think most here realize it will take a smaller prototype to gain some traction. Then see how well it works, costs, etc. (or doesn't). I don't think anyone expects this to actually just happen in one big leap.


Quote:
The infrastructure costs alone to build ANY 'prototype' or 'freight-only' system would be incredibly expensive compared with the alternative.

Yes, 'someone has to build it at some point'....but the problem is that you can't really build just a 'small version' of the concept from multiple post offices to the main post office, or 'just from point A to B' because running through ANY crowded metropolitan area these days with that dedicated infrastructure for a very small application base will make any route extremely costly.
I don't know. If you choose carefully, I see many areas with expressways with existing medians, or rapid transit and rail lines - a 2-3 foot diameter tube seems pretty feasible as a prototype. It doesn't need to be 100' in the air, it can run right along a median, near ground level, or underground in a rapid transit tunnel.


Quote:
One thing I don't understand with his concept:

Quote:
The approach that I believe would overcome the Kantrowitz limit is to mount an electric compressor fan on the nose of the pod that actively transfers high pressure air from the front to the rear of the vessel. This is like having a pump in the head of the syringe actively relieving pressure.


So the basic concept is having a 'medium vacuum' in the tube...but then you're using high pressure air directed from the front of the capsule to the rear to help overcome the Kantrowitz limit?
From what I gather, the capsule would normally build a high pressure wave in front of it (like their syringe analogy). The compressor is added to pump that air from the front to back, through some vents in the pod itself. That keeps that high pressure from having to push around the capsule, and that is related to this Kantrowitz limit - something about needing low pressure air around the walls. But take that with a giant grain of salt - I don't know what I'm talking about

Quote:
And then you're having capsules depart the station every 2 minutes? That's a hell of a lot of air you're dumping into the tubes that you then have to suck back out with huge pumps...not to mention QUITE a bit of air that you have to store on each capsules for propulsion and to provide enough lift to overcome gravity, even if it were carrying people (much less vehicles or cargo)
But the capsule gets shuttled off to a side tube, and I can envision many ways to open the capsule to the outside world and have very little air enter the main tube. Just closing off the tube right in front of and behind the capsule would make for a very small volume to replenish when you close the doors and open the tube air-locks. But I think they could seal right up to the doors, and you wouldn't lose any air at all. It's not like they just open the tube and air is being sucked in the whole time that people are entering/exiting.

This stuff is all able to be calculated by bright people and computer models. I doubt the calculations in that paper are very far off. Which still doesn't mean it can be built for a reasonable cost and do everything the hope. But a prototype would help determine much of that.

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Old 08-14-2013, 04:01 AM   #46
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I don't doubt there are problems with the design. That's why it's an alpha design.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:10 AM   #47
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Not trying to rain on anyone's parade...but are all of you wild supporters realizing the $$$ associated with these grand plans?

The infrastructure costs alone to build ANY 'prototype' or 'freight-only' system would be incredibly expensive compared with the alternative.
Incredibly expensive? compared to spending $68 to 90 billion for a high speed rail, that is $2,000 to $3,000 per California. For a train system who economies are dubious because it is slower and roughly the same price as a plane but more expensive especially for a family than driving, and doesn't save much time. It is entirely possible that ridership of the train will fall well well short of the projections.

Historically both Tesla and SpaceX took twice as much capital as Elon thought, so there little doubt that we should double the cost. Even we double that again the project works out to be $25 billion for the people only system. that is still $35-65 billion cheaper that rail system even if tickets are 4x the $20 estimated = $80 it will be faster and cheaper than flying and very competitive cost with driving. So it seem pretty likely that ridership will be high.

Let say that prototype can be built for $1 billion but actually takes $2 billion to build. Lets also assume the prototype has a 90% chance of failing, but a 10% of succeeding. If it succeeds that is 10% chance of saving $35-$65 Bil. for California and many times that for the rest of the country. In fact I think you really need to assign a very high failure rates before it doesn't make sense to pursue a prototype.

As ERD said this is not some crackpot idea hatched by some lunatics. There is one certified genius Elon Musk and dozen honest to god rocket scientist and automotive engineers who have spent a man year or two refining this idea.

Just today this same team made a test flight of this remarkable piece of engineering. Nobody in the world has demonstrated vertical take off and landing of full size rockets before. I don't think a hyperloop is much harder than this.

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Old 08-14-2013, 09:05 AM   #48
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Incredibly expensive? compared to spending $68 to 90 billion for a high speed rail, that is $2,000 to $3,000 per California. For a train system who economies are dubious because it is slower and roughly the same price as a plane but more expensive especially for a family than driving, and doesn't save much time. It is entirely possible that ridership of the train will fall well well short of the projections.
Compare it to a six lane freeway that might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-30 billion (for a 300 mile segment) and be able to carry 120-130k vehicles per day (~15000 peak hour). And provide intermediate access points every 3-5 miles. 2-4x the cost, almost 20 times the capacity, albeit at lower average speeds.

Taking a quick look at the hyperloop: assuming the $6 billion project is actually a $10 billion project, and the state and feds can chip in $4 billion. Then you have to finance the other $6 billion, so you call your local Goldman Sachs infrastructure finance group or your local infrastructure concessionaire (hope you are fluent in Spanish or Australian ).

Amortized debt service on the $6B will run around $360 million per year over 30 years if the project is financed with bond debt, more if a concessionaire builds it (they demand higher returns on their equity component of investment). Split up the cost per passenger, assuming 3 million passengers, and you have an additional $120 per passenger to add to the ticket price.

Then you have operations and maintenance expenses, which I find hard to believe $20/pax is all it would be ($60,000,000/yr at 3 million pax). 300 miles of vacuum tube and civil infrastructure located in a very constrained environment (the median of the freeways), pumps, controls, emergency systems and response teams, multiple stations, operations facilities, etc.

Not to mention Caltrans not wanting to cede their medians to the hyperloop developer for free. That is some very valuable real estate that is treated as free in the cost model in the alpha design.

High speed rail is very expensive in part because of the very high design standards for railroads generally, and high speed rail specifically. If the Hyperloop had similarly robust standards applied to it, the $6B price tag (or $10B as I assumed) would be a lot higher.

Still, a very novel concept and an interesting read.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:26 AM   #49
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Just today this same team made a test flight of this remarkable piece of engineering. Nobody in the world has demonstrated vertical take off and landing of full size rockets before. I don't think a hyperloop is much harder than this.

Thanks for the video. I had seen the ones where the grasshopper went up and immediately came down, but in this one it hovered in place moved laterally about 100 meters for quite some time. This is an impressive accomplishment.

I have no idea if the hyperloop will ever be built. And I doubt if Musk himself would advocate spending billions on it at this time. But I admire innovative thinking and well though out risk taking. These are alpha specs, and Musk is simply asking other people to contribute ideas. That's how open source works.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:07 AM   #50
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Hovering a rocket is balancing a single inverted pendulum, plus using thrust control for the vertical axis. People who are curious in control system theory may want to see the following video demonstrating automatic control of a double inverted pendulum.



And for some off-topic fun, the following video demonstrates the chaotic motion of a non-controlled double pendulum.



Finally, auto-balancing of a triple inverted pendulum. Note that the automatic controller does not simply keep the pendulum stably inverted, but can also reposition it to any "hover" point.

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Old 08-14-2013, 10:49 AM   #51
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Compare it to a six lane freeway that might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-30 billion (for a 300 mile segment) and be able to carry 120-130k vehicles per day (~15000 peak hour). And provide intermediate access points every 3-5 miles. 2-4x the cost, almost 20 times the capacity, albeit at lower average speeds. ...

Still, a very novel concept and an interesting read.
I like that comparison. It makes me think about a combo of these ideas, more along the lines of other 'personal transport' plans that are out there.

Instead of high speed rail, which takes big heavy cars that need very large, wide, stable track - Imagine even smaller capsules than Hyperloop. Maybe 5-10 passengers, just 1-2 seats wide, so a narrow rail, running along the median of HWY 5. They could be very aerodynamic, and be powered electricity from the rail. Maybe apply the Hyperloop concept to a degree - have batteries on board and only some sections of the track need power?

If they could travel @ 100 mph, and never deal with traffic, and be auto-piloted enough so that capsules could be run close together, they could depart every 30 seconds like the Hyperloop. Maybe even dynamic couple-decoupling, so they could link together and draft each other like a train? With just a rail, adding sidings and stations along the way would be easy. Maybe the normal cars are 'express cars', and a program schedules cars for stops along the way. So if you want to stop, you might have to wait a while for other passengers who want to stop also - ans also non-express would run on a minimum schedule, like every 20 minutes. Sooner if there is demand.

Going small/flexible provides so many options. We take the train into Chicago for many trips, but the size of the train creates so many limits. They only leave ~ once per hour on off-peak times. They stop at just about every station, so not so much faster than driving. And they stop other traffic, which is a safety issue and annoyance for drivers. Currently, some rapid transit runs along the expressways in Chicago, but I think even smaller cars could improve this system.

Certainly, that technology isn't far out, you don't get the advantages of super high speeds, protection from weather, etc, but considering the 'competition' (air, car, HS Rail), it would seem to be a winner. The competition (from the h-loop pdf):

Quote:
Travel time of 2 hours and 38 minutes between San Francisco and Los Angeles by proposed high-speed rail. Average one-way ticket price of $105 one-way.

Compare with 1 hour and 15 minutes by air. Compare with $158 round trip by air for September 2013.

Compare with 5 hours and 30 minutes by car. Compare with $115 round trip by road ($4/gallon with 30 mpg vehicle)
Air and HS-Rail might be faster that small capsules, but when you factor in that they probably only run one or twice an hour (for rail), and hours apart for air - that isn't always so great. Small, on-demand departure times are much better. I think the small capsules could be close to the speed of HSR, but more flexible, and certainly faster than car - and you can rest/work instead of drive.


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Old 08-14-2013, 11:17 AM   #52
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I like that comparison. It makes me think about a combo of these ideas, more along the lines of other 'personal transport' plans that are out there.

Instead of high speed rail, which takes big heavy cars that need very large, wide, stable track - Imagine even smaller capsules than Hyperloop.
. . .

If they could travel @ 100 mph, and never deal with traffic, and be auto-piloted enough so that capsules could be run close together, they could depart every 30 seconds like the Hyperloop.
. . .

Air and HS-Rail might be faster that small capsules, but when you factor in that they probably only run one or twice an hour (for rail), and hours apart for air - that isn't always so great. Small, on-demand departure times are much better. I think the small capsules could be close to the speed of HSR, but more flexible, and certainly faster than car - and you can rest/work instead of drive.
There have been some really interesting ideas that employ small pods big enough to hold an automobile. The pods are autonomous--you drive your car to one of the small siding tracks, input where you want to go, a pod shows up and you drive your car onto the pod platform, the car gets secured and the pod takes you to your destination--probably another small mini-station off the main line. No waiting for a big train, no stopping a bunch of times so people can get on and off. If you have no car, a smaller "personal pod" shows up instead, so the same infrastructure serves urban and suburban/hinterlands travelers. 100 MPH and all control is automated, so the pods can be very close together. Everything is electric and more efficient energy-wise than a lot of individual IC engines running, the traffic density is amazing (a single line each way over the highway median can carry as many cars as 5 lanes of highway). And when you arrive where you are going you've got a car to take you the final distance off the main line to your ultimate destination. The railway is less expensive to construct than that needed for a larger train, and adding new branches/mini-stations incrementally is much simpler.
That's the kind of public transportation that I'd favor.
Given the present airport security delays, lack of flexible departure times for some routes, parking time, ticketing, getting everyone strapped into the plane, getting everyone off the plane, bag retrieval, car rental, etc a 100 MPH enroute speed and drive-off-in-your-car convenience could easily beat 400 MPH air transportation in all-inclusive travel time for distances of 500 miles or so.

The Ohio government mercifully cancelled our own "high-speed" train boondoggle. With stops, the real speed would have been about 60 MPH, and it would have covered just a few cities with very few departure times. California, you are more than welcome to Ohio's share of that very expensive "free" federal money for high-speed rail. Good luck!
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:34 AM   #53
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...
Given the present airport security delays, parking time, ticketing, bag retrieval, lack of flexible departure times for some air travel routes, etc a 100 MPH enroute speed and drive-off-in-your-car convenience could easily beat 400 MPH air transportation in all-inclusive travel time for distances of 500 miles or so. ...
Security would be another advantage for these small rail systems. Since you only have maybe 10 passengers per capsule, it doesn't seem like a very dramatic target for a terrorist. And a simple rail would be pretty easy to monitor for tampering, and easy to repair.

Compare to an evacuated tube - damage a small section and the system would be down and due for major repairs. I imagine it takes some time to evacuate a tube that size to 1/1000th atm.

Just thinking - 120 mph is 2 miles per minute. So capsules taking off 30 seconds apart would still be a mile apart. Even on rail, that should be plenty of length to stop, for a small capsule. Trains take longer, but I suppose that is due to their large mass.

I could even imagine a very small robot capsule that ran during off-peak times - its sole purpose would be to monitor the track quality. Bad guys couldn't damage a track w/o it first being detected before a manned capsule arrived. And with robots and/or capsules running every few minutes, the bad guys would not have much time to act.

Hey, those robots could be larger to carry freight - good use of off-peak time!


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Old 08-14-2013, 11:54 AM   #54
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Security would be another advantage for these small rail systems. Since you only have maybe 10 passengers per capsule, it doesn't seem like a very dramatic target for a terrorist.
Yes and no. Having 10 people locked into a capsule with no onboard driver/authority figure poses a challenge. Many people now get nervous being in an elevator with strangers for their 30 second ride. Small pods that you board without control of who gets in with you do provide certain "opportunities" to criminals. Maybe this could be addressed with panic buttons, cameras, strapping everyone in in a fairly constrained manner (think of those over-the-shoulders pull-down bars on a roller coaster). But there are just some people I'd rather not share a ride with for 2-3 hours, and they might not want to be with me. Inside my car-in-a-pod I can enjoy the radio, eat a stinky tuna-and-Limburger sandwich, recline the seat and go to sleep knowing my wallet will be in my pocket when I awaken.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:34 PM   #55
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There have been some really interesting ideas that employ small pods big enough to hold an automobile. The pods are autonomous--you drive your car to one of the small siding tracks, input where you want to go, a pod shows up and you drive your car onto the pod platform, the car gets secured and the pod takes you to your destination--probably another small mini-station off the main line. No waiting for a big train, no stopping a bunch of times so people can get on and off. If you have no car, a smaller "personal pod" shows up instead, so the same infrastructure serves urban and suburban/hinterlands travelers. 100 MPH and all control is automated, so the pods can be very close together. Everything is electric and more efficient energy-wise than a lot of individual IC engines running, the traffic density is amazing (a single line each way over the highway median can carry as many cars as 5 lanes of highway). And when you arrive where you are going you've got a car to take you the final distance off the main line to your ultimate destination. The railway is less expensive to construct than that needed for a larger train, and adding new branches/mini-stations incrementally is much simpler.
That's the kind of public transportation that I'd favor.

Given the present airport security delays, lack of flexible departure times for some routes, parking time, ticketing, getting everyone strapped into the plane, getting everyone off the plane, bag retrieval, car rental, etc a 100 MPH enroute speed and drive-off-in-your-car convenience could easily beat 400 MPH air transportation in all-inclusive travel time for distances of 500 miles or so.
I've had this notion for a long time too. Think of the safety of being in a controlled system (tube, rail, whatever) for so much of your drive, with no worries about what happens if you or someone makes a careless move or falls asleep to put everyone around them in danger. Then you'd get off this system and drive the final few miles to your destination, rested and relaxed.
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Old 08-15-2013, 01:14 AM   #56
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Compare it to a six lane freeway that might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-30 billion (for a 300 mile segment) and be able to carry 120-130k vehicles per day (~15000 peak hour). And provide intermediate access points every 3-5 miles. 2-4x the cost, almost 20 times the capacity, albeit at lower average speeds.

Taking a quick look at the hyperloop: assuming the $6 billion project is actually a $10 billion project, and the state and feds can chip in $4 billion. Then you have to finance the other $6 billion, so you call your local Goldman Sachs infrastructure finance group or your local infrastructure concessionaire (hope you are fluent in Spanish or Australian ).

Amortized debt service on the $6B will run around $360 million per year over 30 years if the project is financed with bond debt, more if a concessionaire builds it (they demand higher returns on their equity component of investment). Split up the cost per passenger, assuming 3 million passengers, and you have an additional $120 per passenger to add to the ticket price.

Then you have operations and maintenance expenses, which I find hard to believe $20/pax is all it would be ($60,000,000/yr at 3 million pax). 300 miles of vacuum tube and civil infrastructure located in a very constrained environment (the median of the freeways), pumps, controls, emergency systems and response teams, multiple stations, operations facilities, etc.

Not to mention Caltrans not wanting to cede their medians to the hyperloop developer for free. That is some very valuable real estate that is treated as free in the cost model in the alpha design.

High speed rail is very expensive in part because of the very high design standards for railroads generally, and high speed rail specifically. If the Hyperloop had similarly robust standards applied to it, the $6B price tag (or $10B as I assumed) would be a lot higher.

Still, a very novel concept and an interesting read.

The alternative isn't a freeway. LA and SF are already connected by 2 two freeways I-5 and US101. Other than Thanksgiving they are never near capacity for 90% of the route.

The alternative are expensive high speed rail, status quo, or something else.

There are currently at least 6 million people traveling on the SF to LA rail each way. I think having better transportation would increase this to say 7 or 8 million. I think is reasonable that hyperloop would get 3 million round trip passengers or roughly double what you are suggestion so making the ticket cost $140 round trip.

I suspect the 10 billion is too low but I think you could float the bonds at 5% instead of 6 as tax exempt revenue bond anyway that is a minor issue.
The point is if doesn't make economic sense to build hyperloop it makes even less sense to spend $68-90 billion on a high speed train.

However it does make sense from an energy perspective it takes roughly 8-10 gallons of gas/jet fuel per person to go from SF to LA (assume 2 person/car.) or in the neighbor of 100 million gallons a year. The high speed rail consumes much less, and the hyperloop energy is offset by the solar panels.
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #57
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The point is if doesn't make economic sense to build hyperloop it makes even less sense to spend $68-90 billion on a high speed train. ....
It could turn out that Hyperloop accomplished much w/o even being built.

If it draws more questions on this high-speed-rail approach (and I understand people are very skeptical already), then maybe a bad program will be squashed, and many billions saved. And you could bet that the high-speed-rail project will go over on costs (if you can find a sucker to take the bet).

The advantages of HSR just don't seem great enough to justify it. There's a plan for HSR in Illinois, I need to get up-to-date on that.

-ERD50
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:07 AM   #58
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In my search for serious analysis of the proposal.

I seemed have miss this brilliant piece on the Daily Shows

Watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Track to the Future online | Free | Hulu
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:09 AM   #59
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We'll see where this goes:

Hyperloop company forms, plans to demo prototype in 2015 — Tech News and Analysis
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:52 AM   #60
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Looking for volunteers for the first test run!
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