What Next for Elon Musk? Vertical Takeoff Supersonic Passenger Aircraft, and the Mysterious Hyperloop

Posted by & filed under .

In a fantastic article in Businessweek, Elon Musk – the founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and my favourite company in the world, SpaceX – has given some insight into what technological wonders he has whirling around in his head, waiting to be unleashed upon us in the future.

He casually dropped this into the conversation:

“Boeing just took $20 billion and 10 years to improve the efficiency of their planes by 10 percent. That’s pretty lame. I have a design in mind for a vertical liftoff supersonic jet that would be a really big improvement.”

I suppose if you are aiming to die on Mars after getting there on a craft that you have designed and built with your own company, then a supersonic VTOL passenger aircraft would be a nice side project.

More mention was made of his recently conceptualised Hyperloop – although details are hard to come by at present as he is keeping his cards close to his chest at the moment on this one. The Hyperloop, a proposed “fifth mode of transportation”, has been universally speculated as being a hypersonic evacuated tube transport system. Sort of like the vacuum tubes they had in 1960′s offices for passing messages, only hypersonic and the size of a train.

 “What you want is something that never crashes, that’s at least twice as fast as a plane, that’s solar powered and that leaves right when you arrive, so there is no waiting for a specific departure time”, says Musk. “The $60 billion bullet train they’re proposing in California would be the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile. The cost of the SF-LA Hyperloop would be in the $6 billion range”.

The original article is available at Businessweek and is well worth a read for anyone who finds Musk as inspirational as we do here at Antecept.