A new class of electric vehicle moved a step closer to becoming a reality this week, as proponents of the Hyperloop formed a company to bring Elon Musk’s radical public transport concept to California commuters.
Patricia Galloway, co-leader of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), told FoxNews.com, “The feasibility is done. What we’re working on now is moving toward conceptual design. [Hyperloop] is similar to what the Concorde did for air transport. This will revolutionize how we transport people from city to city.”
Galloway brings an impressive resume to the task. A former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, she recently worked on the Panama Canal expansion project, the construction of floodgates around Venice, and the $30 billion Crossrail Project to expand London’s rail network. “I’ve been fascinated by first-of-a-kind projects,” she said.
Marco Villa, former director of mission operations for SpaceX, will share the leadership position with Galloway.
Since Elon Musk and his team released details of the project in an August white paper, the media consensus has been that the project sounds insane (wild, wacky, quixotic…take your pick), or at least it would if it had originated with someone other than the mastermind of Tesla and SpaceX. From where we stand, the Hyperloop doesn’t sound any crazier than California’s high-speed rail project, which broke ground last week. At a projected cost of $68 billion and 16 years of construction time, its goal is someday to move travelers from LA to San Francisco in about the same amount of time as airplanes have done since the 1970s.
HTT announced support from a variety of other organizations, including manufacturing and design firm GloCal Network Corporation, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s graduate program Suprastudio, which will work on urban planning and design, and Ansys, which has run an independent feasibility analysis.
“We have already virtually tested an initial concept of the Hyperloop,” said Sandeep Sovani of Ansys, using simulation technology used by manufacturers of aircraft, rockets, trains and automobiles.
A SpaceX spokeswoman said that Elon Musk wishes the team well, but is not specifically endorsing the company.
The company plans to have an updated white paper by March that will offer details of a prototype, which might be built as early as the end of 2014.
Interested investors can get involved through crowdfunding site JumpStartFund.