While the Hyperloop might look like a good idea on paper, the lightning-fast transportation system might not be all it’s cracked up to be. The innovative travel method would allow for transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes. It would make use of travel pods that could reach speeds of 760 mph, and it would operate at a fraction of the cost of high-speed railways.
Originally, the idea was proposed by Tesla’s Elon Musk. But now, two additional companies have started developing their own Hyperloop systems. It appears that there is a three-way race to create the unique transportation system. However, when all is said and done, all three might fall flat on their faces.
According to Musk, a Hyperloop system running between Los Angeles and San Francisco would cost about $6 billion. This represents a ridiculously high cost on a per-mile basis for a largely unproven transit system. Even still, most mathematicians are finding this estimate to be remarkably low. Most analyses have found that Hyperloop will cost about the same as the already expensive high-speed rail.
Even putting the cost issue aside, there’s also the issue of comfort. Traveling at speeds of up to 760 mph isn’t exactly the most pleasant of rides. Needless to say, many people would literally get sick riding the Hyperloop. It is unknown if business professionals would be willing risk vomiting on their attire in order to save time on their commutes. High-speed rails might be slightly slower, but aren’t completely unbearable to ride.
While a few wealthy individuals can happily dream about the Hyperloop, their expectations might be somewhat unreasonable. Still, there’s not much stopping Elon Musk from shelling out several billions of dollars to try and make his latest dream a reality. Even if the project does take off, it is unknown if people would actually use it. Then again, maybe it will be Elon Musk who will be laughing all the way to the bank. But it’s fair to ask the question: how fast is too fast?