Hyperloop One Unveils “Plan For America” In Washington, DC


On April 6, Hyperloop One hosted a conference on American infrastructure in Washington, DC, where it released details about the role it intends to play in bringing rapid, low-cost transportation to the nation. President Trump is proposing to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure during the next several years and those who want to participate in that plan are flocking to Washington to present their ideas. Elon Musk last week told administration officials that he can bore tunnels from coast to coast to help solve America’s congestion problems.

Hyperloop One

In the 1950s, President Eisenhower initiated the Interstate highway system. That infrastructure project linked all parts of the country with high-speed highways for the first time and unleashed a boom in economic activity that helped propel the United States into the forefront of the world’s nations. Backers of Elon Musk’s hyperloop idea think it could have a similar effect on the US economy in the 21st century.

“Hyperloop One is the only company in the world building an operational commercial Hyperloop system,” said Rob Lloyd, chief executive officer of Hyperloop One. “This disruptive technology — conceived, developed and built in the US — will move passengers and cargo faster, cleaner and more efficiently. It will transform transportation as we know it and create a more connected world.”

Lloyd said that by year’s end the company will have a team of 500 engineers, fabricators, scientists, and other employees dedicated to bringing the technology to life. Hyperloop One, he said, will enable broad benefits across communities and markets, support sustainable manufacturing and supply chains, ease strain on existing infrastructure, and improve the way millions live and work.

Hyperloop One

This past week, the company finalized the tube installation on its 1640-foot-long DevLoop, located in the desert outside of Las Vegas. The facility serves as an outdoor lab for its proprietary levitation, propulsion, vacuum, and control technologies.

“The US has always been a global innovation vanguard – driving advancements in computing, communication and media to rail, automobiles and aeronautics,” said Shervin Pishevar, executive chairman of Hyperloop One. “Now, with Hyperloop One, we are on the brink of the first great breakthrough in transportation technology of the 21st century, eliminating the barriers of time and distance and unlocking vast economic opportunities. Hyperloop One is the American Dream, and it’s fast becoming an American reality,” Pishevar said.

The Hyperloop One Global Challenge

The Hyperloop One Global Challenge kicked off in May 2016 as an open call to individuals, universities, companies, and governments to develop comprehensive proposals for deploying Hyperloop One’s transport technology in their region. Five of the proposals – including those from Texas, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Missouri – involve officials from their state Departments of Transportation.

Proposed routes that would greatly reduce passenger and cargo transport times across some of the country’s most heavily trafficked regions include Los Angeles—San Diego, Miami—Orlando, and Seattle—Portland. The longest-distance proposal, Cheyenne—Houston, would run 1,152 miles across four states, reducing to 1 hour and 45 minutes a journey that currently takes 17 hours by car or truck.

Here’s a list of the 11 proposed Hyperloop One routes currently under consideration.

  • Boston—Somerset-Providence, Hyperloop Massachusetts, 64 miles
  • Cheyenne—Houston, Rocky Mountain Hyperloop Consortium, 1152 miles
  • Chicago—Columbus—Pittsburgh, Hyperloop Midwest, 488 miles
  • Colorado Front Range/ Mountain Network, Rocky Mountain Hyperloop, 360 miles
  • Colorado Front Range, Colorado Hyperloop, 242 miles
  • Kansas City—St. Louis, Hyperloop Missouri, 240 miles
  • Los Angeles—San Diego, Hyperloop West, 121 miles
  • Miami—Orlando, Hyperloop Florida, 257 miles
  • Reno—Las Vegas, Hyperloop Nevada, 454 miles
  • Seattle—Portland, PNW Hyperloop, 173 miles
  • Texas Triangle, Hyperloop Texas, 640 miles

To learn more about Hyperloop One, check out the video below.

Source: Hyperloop One

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • rpmii

    So, what is it?

    • Mungo Park

      99% hype and 1% loopiness.

      • rpmii

        Well, I bit and went to Wikipedia. Agree with your assessment. I would that the 99 percent hype and 1 percent add up to 100 percent fantasy and fraud.

    • Marshall Gill

      An excuse to get some of that sweet, sweet $1,000,000,000,000 in proposed government spending.

  • Mungo Park

    There must be more to this article somewhere. I understand the “Hype” part, but the rest of it remains a mystery.

    • Steve Hanley

      Visit the company’s website. It doesn’t offer much more information, sadly. I think Marshall Gill has it about right.

  • Hollif50

    A bold dream, although the cost would be prohibitive..

  • westernblot

    Probably makes sense for cargo only.

  • Bobtail362

    Meanwhile, where the hell is my flying car?

  • TrustbutVerify

    OK, folks, the technology is not that complex. The most complex thing is dealing with the air compression/resistance in the tube and they solved that in the original design proposal (if you care to actually look it up). Basically, think of the tube at your bank drive through. Except you’ll be going much faster, between cities. So it won’t replace interstate highways, but it will cut into air travel for sure…and be a lot cheaper. It is also 10X cheaper to build than current fast rail systems, such as the one they are building in California.

    Now, will there be hitches and drawbacks? Sure. Is it a promising technology that could bring about massive economic changes for the better? Yep. Will it have negative economic effects in some sectors? Yep.

    As to the person who said “cargo”….the problems with the system are magnified the larger you make the tube. Cargo that “needs” to go that fast would be the FedEx/Amazon variety of small packages. But they will probably still be using planes due to the size advantage per shipment which greatly reduces cost per package.

    • bluejay

      What is the cost to create and maintain the vacuum.

      • Steve Hanley

        As others have pointed out, no one knows much about the practical realities of the Hyperloop concept. Many think it is largely smoke and mirrors that may get here someday but is still decades away from being practical.

        • TrustbutVerify

          Yes, because the tube at your bank never works, right? The technology already exists and your “practical realities” are just the usual “nobody has ever done it before” nay-saying. Aside from handling the air pressure/friction considerations – and high speed turns, if there are any – there isn’t really a lot of challenge to it. Would you rather pay $125 plus baggage fees and spend 2 hours in an airport terminal to take a plane 700 miles (several hours total) or hope in the Hyperloop for a one hour trip at $20 or $35 or ever $50?

        • Nate

          It’s the LightRail debacle on crack.

          Utterly useless- just a faster train with less utility.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Ummmm…isn’t the utility of a train moving people? Doing it quicker and cheaper is….better…right? Reducing your costs to 1/4 of what it costs to travel by air the same distance is…what…not good? And if you look at the cost comparisons, it costs WAY less than high speed rail to build.

          • Nate

            No- the utility of a train is moving freight.

            A train can move hundreds of people- but we rarely have hundreds of people needing to go to the fixed routes that a train offers. This is why many AmTrak Routes and even many connecting flights move with sporadic passengers aboard.

            Because of this, they only make sense for routes where a LOT of people will move on a regular schedule.

            But trains succeed in freight- because it can be combined in yards and scheduled send hundreds of tractor loads at a time.

            You can’t combine people and ship them out at 3 AM in the same way.

            So what is in effect a train (it moves between fixed points) that can only move people or small amounts of cargo is a less useful train.

            Will/can it replace the Interstates? No. Because the utility the interstates offer is they allow you to get on/off at any point along the route, and with a form of transportation (your car) to continue onto your destination even if it is another 50 or 100 miles distant.

            HyperLoop cannot do that.

          • TrustbutVerify

            No, the utility of a train has BECOME moving freight because it couldn’t compete with other modes of intercity travel – such as cars (due to cost and flexibility) and planes (cost, flexibility and speed). Of course the cost of car travel doesn’t figure in the initial costs of building the roads and maintaining them, now does it?

            If, however, you can move from one city to another several hundred miles away at a fraction of the time of a car and much cheaper than an airplane – then rent a car to move locally – I think you can see the fallacy in your objections. That is why we are talking intercity travel from one region to another, not going to the grocery store or the mall 30 miles away. By linking cities, you could go across the country in a much more flexible, safe, cheaper and enjoyable way than with current air travel.

            The pods are designed to run on a demand basis – not on a schedule, so there is no conflict. In a particular route, they are all going to and from the same place in a loop. They will have limited passengers, perhaps as small as 6 to 10 (longer makes for many problems in a tube). So filling them up is not a problem. Of course, they have to come up with a design for the pods that meets public approval – can’t be too cramped, amenities and such. When you arrive, if you want to go to the next city and travel on you can eat, stretch, use the facilities, then grab the next pod to the next city. Each leg will be about on hour long.

            Nobody is eliminating the interstate, but we will certainly cut down on the use – and wear and tear – on the road system. By cheaply and quickly traveling over long distances and renting a car for shorter distances, it will be much more advantageous for people. Cargo will still go by trains and planes and trucks.

          • Nate

            So it’s only useful for going from Chicago to LA or New York to Washington.

            I.e.- it is 100% useless in 99% of the land area of the country, but requires a whole new round of land grabs to install itself across the so called “fly over country”.

            In other words- it’s useless to the citizens of Buffalo, of Canton, OH, or Peoria (IL and AZ), or Wichita, and Lincoln.

            Also useless to the underclass in even the cities it will be installed in- working class and welfare class have no use for traveling from LA to New York.

            In other words- it is incredibly marginal utility. Only useful to a handful of elite inner city dwellers who can already easily afford air travel.

            In other words- it is absolutely useless. 99.99% of the nation would never ride in one, even if installed.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Yes, because rich people in big cities are the only people who fly these days, right? And people would never travel to an, oh, centralized location to catch a plane…or a train. Of course, they are all stranded when they arrive at the airport or train station on the other end, right? And people never take buses for a couple of hundred dollars and days on end to get places, either – places they could get to for a fraction of the cost and time on the hyperloop.

            And the trains would more than likely run along currently available right of ways for interstates and trains for most of their length.

            Yeah, your populist stuff makes real sense there, Nate.

          • Nate

            It’s not a populist argument- it’s an economic argument.

            Hyperloop is of incredibly limited utility.

            If I have to drive 3 hours, pay to park, then board the hyperloop get to where I’m going, rent a car, then drive another 3 hours to my destination its just not that goddamn useful.

            Let’s do a comparison- Peoria, IL to Virginia Beach car versus theoretical hyperloop-

            3 hours to Chicago
            1 to park and check in and wait my turn to leave
            1 hour Hyperloop from Chicago to Washington, DC
            2 hours to rent the car and get out of DC traffic
            3 more hours to get to Virginia Beach
            total: 10 hours

            Drive time: 15 hours

            So you save five hours for the hassle of booking the train, paying for parking, and renting a car- probably not worth it most of the time- or as I said before, only useful if you are going to the very few places that have the train stations in, or if you already don’t own a car.

          • TrustbutVerify

            So planes have an incredibly limited utility because you have to drive 3 hours to an airport, be two hours early, and go through all the same crap and pay through the nose. But NOBODY uses airplanes, right? And NOBODY would use something that costs 1/3 of the price for the same trip, right? I have to get on the internet and let all those millions of air travelers (and train and bus) know that they are utter fools and their means of transportation is of incredibly limited utility.

            If you choose to drive, you still can. I drive anywhere that is 8 hours or closer now because of those very reasons, the extra 3 hours for the cost doesn’t make sense. Unless I have to be there in a more timely manner for business. Other people don’t like to drive or can’t drive that far. Ten hours is about my break even, depending. But the point is, I ALSO fly and take trains to do the same thing. And if I could take the hyperloop at that reduced cost it would change my calculus and I would use it…EVERY time. So your point is rather weak, on its face, and is proven to be moot by the current number of people traveling by plane, train and bus.

          • Nate

            The advantage of planes is that they don’t require infrastructure along their course- just airports.

            Ditto for buses which use existing infrastructure.

            Ditto for current trains which use the preexisting rail lines from before cars became effective means of transport, and which are maintained by the much more lucrative freight business as already discussed. And don’t forget- passenger trains are heavily subsidized by cities and AmTrak by the Federal government.

            Hyperloop would require an entire new set of infrastructure to be built, both stations AND track/loop. It doesn’t add up.

          • TrustbutVerify

            The jets ARE the major infrastructure – each one costing $50M for a medium jet to $350MM for a large one. And there are thousands. Then there are the airports, the surrounding infrastructure, the infrastructure for flight controls (from air traffic controllers to GPS and VOR and non-directional beacons). Then there is maintenance and fueling infrastructure. So, yeah, no infrastructure there at all.

            Current infrastructure had to be built and has to be maintained, that is not an argument against building OTHER infrastructure. In fact, the infrastructure is crumbling and costing more each year on our interstate highway system – so taking stress off of it by reducing traffic would actually help preserve it.

            As I said, the hyperloop would use existing right-of-ways, so your point about train tracks – which have to also be maintained, is moot.

            But economics will out. If they can build the hyperloop and operate it at a significantly reduced cost per trip – and at the low construction costs now estimated – it will win. Just as the plane took passenger business AWAY from trains. (You seem to have a block there, by the way…the railroads didn’t just say, “Hey, let’s give up all that very lucrative passenger train business we have and focus on freight!”. They lost the passengers to the car and airplane and were LEFT WITH freight, which they do well.)

          • Nate

            A jet is not infrastructure.

            Yes, air travel requires infrastructure at the airport- which Hyperloop would require as well, but the airlines do not require tracks/loop.

            The utility of the jets is that they can land at ANY airport and fly FROM any airport directly TO any airport. Hyperloop cannot do that.

            Right of way or not- they have to lay the loop.

            You can SAY that it is practical based on the projected construction costs- but much like light rail, those cost estimates will not be accurate.

            If it works- by all means, but I wouldn’t invest a dime of my money in it- and no public money should be spent on it.

            In the end, its a rich person’s fantasy toy train set with a billion dollar price tag. If any loop is ever built it will be few, and far between, and 99% of America will never touch it.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Skippy, when a single jet costs $350MM – the cost of a pretty large facility – and it is the basis of your industry, THAT is infrastructure vs simply a capital purchase of equipment. And jets require a minimum of a 6,000 ft runway for small jets and 8,000 feet or more for large jets – so, no, they can’t just “land anywhere”. Airplanes also fly a route, from one location to another and back on a schedule – they aren’t just hopping in and saying, “Hey, today let’s go to Virginia Beach and see if we can locate a long enough runway to land close enough that Nate doesn’t have to rent a car to get to his hotel!”

            They have to lay the tubes, yes, but most of the cost is in acquiring land for these ventures and doing permitting to get approval. An established right-of-way avoids all of that.

            Estimates are estimates, but you also do estimates based off the engineering and materials you are using. A system (hyperloop) that estimates peg at 10 times cheaper than high-speed rail is still going to be WAAAYYY cheaper than high speed rail when it is built.

            Well, Nate, in the end – that is EXACTLY what the railroad companies said about airplane travel…right up and until they went out of business.

          • Nate

            A jet is not infrastructure.

            Infrastructure is the fixed part- the airport is infrastructure, the airplane is not.

            A truck is not infrastructure, a road is.

            You understand this, correct?

          • TrustbutVerify

            When a truck costs $350MM, you get back to me, ‘K? Because you’re trying to prove you are right about everything by being punctilious and dogmatically “precise” about a definition of something so expensive and intrinsic and indispensible to the operations of airlines as the, you know, expensive planes without which they can’t operate as something other than “infrastructure”…well, it is very weak rhetorical argument. It doesn’t prove you right on any of your points…you understand this, correct?

            As said in “Principles of Airport Economics”…”In transport, tracks and modal interchange facilities exhibit most of the characteristics of infrastructure; but rolling stock and vehicle fleets (trucks) do not. Planes, ships, navigation controls and traffic controls for air and maritime transport are borderline cases: the equipment itself doesn’t have the fixed location and sunk costs and density of classic infrastructure, but as they are integral to operations of airlines, airports and port facilities they could be included in the coverage of infrastructure.”

          • Nate

            That’s a ludicrous argument that ignores the fundamental nature of a jet.

            Cost is immaterial- jets can move and be moved easily. Therefore they are not infrastructure.

            Jets can be rapidly redeployed from unprofitable regions, routes, or airports to more profitable regions, routes, or airports.

            Infrastructure cannot be moved in this fashion.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Argue with the guy who wrote the book, Nate. Sheeeesh.

          • Nate

            I can’t help that you read a book where a guy made a dumb argument and believed it.

          • TrustbutVerify

            I can’t help that you’re too dumb to read a book by an expert in the field but still not believe what the expert had to say….because, of course, he disagrees with YOU so he must be wrong.

          • Nate

            One expert has the dumb idea that an airplane is infrastructure and writes it in a book.

            Every other economist in the history of mankind understands and explains that infrastructure is the stuff that can’t be moved such as roads, buildings, ect and that clearly an airplane is not infrastructure because it is mobile.

            Who should I believe- one guy, or the entire inherited knowledge of mankind which disagrees with him?

          • Nate

            Any other simple words you’d like to mis-define in order to support your idiotic idea that a super expensive train is a good idea?

          • TrustbutVerify

            Wow, you reeeeaaallllly don’t like being wrong about anything, do you? You know, things change. Planes weren’t around for 99% of human history and the way we think of things – like infrastructure – change too. Things that are inseparably linked to an industry such that it can’t function and doesn’t exist without it, for instance, and that are incredibly expensive investments of capital such that they rise to the level of infrastructure. Care to be more simplistic in your thinking to try to cover up that you might be wrong about something?

          • Nate

            I’m not wrong about this.

            You can spin it any way you want- a plane is not infrastructure.

            Words have meanings, definitions, they mean specific things.

            Planes do not share the intrinsic qualities of infrastructure, therefore planes are not infrastructure.

            infrastructure isn’t defined by the price tag, or how important they are to the industry. It’s defined by the fact that they are fixed pieces which can’t be moved after they’ve been bought.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Well, at least one published expert on the airline industry directly contradicts your dated understanding of the term and you have no room for ANY doubt in your opinion. What does that tell you, Nate? That you are too pigheaded to admit that someone has a different thought than you, that you could be wrong, that there could be some new idea you are unaware of out there. That says loads about your analysis of how viable the hyperloop concept is, doesn’t it?

            Perhaps you’d like to invest in buggy whips?

          • Nate

            Well, since you refuse to acknowledge that words have meanings- buggy whips could mean space ships and might be a very good investment.

            Invest in your super expensive, low utility train if you want- trains, even fancy ones, are not the future.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Do you know why we don’t have Chesapeake and Ohio Airlines? Because the railroad companies thought they were in the train business when they were actually in the TRANSPORTATION business. Same thing with airlines. If a disruptive technology comes along that is just as fast and cheaper and provides the same or – not hard to imagine – BETTER service, they will lose out in the market. I know that is hard for you to cram into your closed point of view, but I look forward to seeing you on the hyperloop.

          • Nate

            And airlines beat trains because they were more convenient, required infrastructure only in a limited footprint, and had a greater utility.

            Hyperloop has none of these advantages.

            It requires a massive footprint of brand new expensive infrastructure. It can only move from one point to another. It can’t carry freight at all– which planes incidentally also do. You can’t redirect a hyperloop away from a poorly performing route, once you’ve built it its a sunk cost.

            The future of travel is going to be more flexible, not less. We are heading towards drone aircraft which pick you up from home and deliver you to any address, and drone aircraft and self-driving trucks which take good from factory to warehouse, not to limited connection point systems.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Nate…OF COURSE airlines beat out trains for passenger travel…it is obviously the case. You miss the point. You had train companies that had pretty much a monopoly on cross-country travel that IGNORED the advent of planes and their impact. They had scads of money and could have invested in planes and pivoted their operations and stayed in business if they had REALIZED they were not rail road companies but in the TRANSPORTATION business. Likewise airlines today, who have forgotten customer service and convenience – in many cases, as pointed out, slower and more cumbersome than driving for anything under 8-10 hours! So the point is, Nate, that YOU are espousing the view of the railroad companies before the crash. A disruptive TRANSPORTATION technology, that they will not be able to compete with in terms of price and CONVENIENCE, is on the horizon. The question is, will they adapt and adopt or die?

          • Nate

            Except that planes beat trains because planes were better.

            I’ve looked into hyperloop- it actually does not even work!

            I’ve revised my prediction- in the next 500 years, no hyperloop will ever transport a single passenger. It is not even FEASIBLE technology, much less BETTER than air travel or road travel.

            You’ve been taken in by a two bit swindler- a man with 12 billion dollars who has provided nothing of value to society, and much of whose wealth is built by stealing from the tax payers with subsidies.

            I get it man- you don’t want to admit you’ve been swindled by a con man, but you’re backing the wrong horse- and horses are a more useful method of transportation than hyperloop is.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Yep, there it is….”Planes aren’t technologically feasible for cross-country travel. Or carrying as many passengers as trains. Or going fast enough to make it worthwhile. Planes aren’t safe and don’t work that well.” And, of course, all of that went by the boards, didn’t it?

            The problem is you think there is going to be this exquisite drone based transport system – and it may be developed for short commutes. But do you really think they are going to let millions of people fly around in separate vehicles – all that can be crashed into each other and buildings and such if hacked (much like self-driving cars)? What about your precious infrastructure and electronic bandwidth in the communications spectrum to even make THAT feasible?

            Face it, Nate…you might have to come out of your cocoon and ride with some people on a hyperloop pod instead of being all isolated and grumpy in your car driving for hours on end.

          • Nate

            Hyperloop doesn’t work. . . it’s like cold fusion, a pipe dream- except it isn’t even good in theory.

            Yes, eventually we will have flying cars- that technology is feasible.

            Hyperloop does not work. It is not possible. even if it were possible, it would be inferior to air travel as we have it now. It would be a very expensive, incredibly dangerous train that can’t move freight- assuming the fundamental laws of physics were somehow altered to allow it to work. Which it doesn’t.

            Hyperloop will never move a single person. You’ve been had if you think it will.

      • TrustbutVerify

        Again, you should read the technical specs. It isn’t a vacuum, it is low pressure and there is a turbine system in each capsule that sucks air from in front of the capsule and channels it out the back to eliminate the remaining air pressure wave in front of the capsule.

        • bluejay

          A vacuum cleaner doesn’t create a vacuum either but a low pressure but it uses electricity to do it.

          • TrustbutVerify

            Don’t be silly – nobody said it wouldn’t take power to run it. But pulling a hard vacuum is difficult and power requirements go up and up as you try to reach a hard vacuum…it is an asymptotic curve.

          • bluejay

            How much power

          • TrustbutVerify

            I am not one of their design engineers, but the specifications indicate it takes far less power than fast rail systems or mag-lev trains.