Blast­ing from New York to DC in 29 mins

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

NEW YORK — US en­tre­pre­neur Elon Musk said on Thurs­day he’d re­ceived “ver­bal ap­proval” from the govern­ment to build a con­cep­tual “hy­per­loop” sys­tem that would blast pas­sen­ger pods down vac­u­um­sealed tubes from New York to Wash­ing­ton at near-su­per­sonic speeds.

“Just re­ceived ver­bal govt ap­proval for The Bor­ing Com­pany to build an un­der­ground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hy­per­loop. NY-DC in 29 mins,” the flam­boy­ant CEO of Tesla and SpaceX tweeted, us­ing ab­bre­vi­a­tions for New York, Philadel­phia, Bal­ti­more and Wash­ing­ton DC.

New York and Wash­ing­ton are sep­a­rated by some 330 kilo­me­ters — cur­rently an ap­prox­i­mately three-hour jour­ney by train or one hour and 15 min­utes fly­ing.

The US De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion for­warded queries for com­ment to the White House, which of­fered a state­ment that nei­ther con­firmed nor out­right dis- missed the an­nounce­ment.

“We have had promis­ing con­ver­sa­tions to date, are com­mit­ted to trans­for­ma­tive in­fra­struc­ture projects, and be­lieve our great­est so­lu­tions have of­ten come from the in­ge­nu­ity and drive of the pri­vate sec­tor,” the state­ment said.

Ex­perts, how­ever, said the pro­posed sys­tem would likely re­quire ap­provals from nu­mer­ous de­part­ments as well as lo­cal and state au­thor­i­ties be­fore con­struc­tion work could be­gin.

Fac­ing a bar­rage of skep­ti­cism, Musk, who has been known to over-promise in his an­nounce­ments, clar­i­fied: “Still a lot of work needed to re­ceive for­mal ap­proval, but am op­ti­mistic that will oc­cur rapidly”, urg­ing peo­ple to lobby their rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Musk’s in­volve­ment in the pro­posed project is for now lim­ited to build­ing the tun­nels, and it is not yet clear which firm he plans to part­ner with to han­dle the pod ve­hi­cles. bom­bas­tic

Com­pres­sor sucks air in to pull pod for­ward

But sev­eral com­pa­nies are now ex­plor­ing the mar­ket, in­clud­ing North­east Ma­glev, Hy­per­loop One and Hy­per­loop Trans­porta­tion Tech­nolo­gies.

Be­yond the Hy­per­loop sys­tem, Musk has made plans to send two pri­vate cit­i­zens around the moon and land an un­manned space­craft on Mars by 2020.

Ear­lier this month he vowed to build the world’s largest bat­tery in Aus­tralia with a 100 megawatt-hour ca­pac­ity, or enough to power 30,000 homes.

Los An­ge­les San Fran­cisco

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