The Anti-High Speed Rail: Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Gets California Test Track

Hyperloop / ET3

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk’s Hyperloop transportation system is nearly ready for its first test.

The high-speed tube transportation system will soon have its first test track in California, according to Green Car Reports. The Hyperloop promises to take up to 28 people at a time from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the company working on the high-tech concept, has reportedly closed a deal to purchase 5 miles of land alongside Interstate 5 in Central California to build its track.

Musk described how the Hyperloop would work when it was first proposed in 2013:

“The total one-way trip time is 35 minutes from county line to county line. The capsules leave on average every 2 minutes from each terminal carrying 28 people each (as often as every 30 seconds during rush hour and less frequently at night.) This gives a total of 7.4 million people per tube that can be transported each year on Hyperloop.”

The system uses a high-pressure tube to shoot passenger capsules up to 760 miles per hour, which would drastically shorten the roughly 6 hours of driving time it takes to get between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Passenger tickets would reportedly cost just $20 each way.

The test track will reportedly cost $100 million to build and will open in 2016, with most of the money coming from an expected IPO by the company later this year. The test capsules will hit top speeds of 200 mph because the length of the test track won’t allow for the 800 mph target speed.

Of course, the most intriguing aspect of the system is that its economics are palatable for cash-strapped California.

Musk says his system would cost just $8 billion for two one-way tubes and 40 passenger pods. When compared with California’s pricey high-speed rail project, which is set to cost up to $70 billion to complete, it makes sense that Musk criticized the state project as “one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world.”

“If we are to make a massive investment in a new transportation system, then the return by rights should be equally massive,” Musk said while unveiling the project.

In December, Hyperloop CEO Dirk Ahlborn said the Hyperloop system could be fully operational in ten years.