LA to SF in 30 minutes? Elon Musk to unveil "Hyperloop" train design

Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX
Dan Farber

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on Monday that he will soon publish the design for high-speed train that can travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 30 minutes.

"Will publish Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12. Critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated," Musk tweeted.

Musk described a transportation tube to Bloomberg Businessweek last September, saying that it is a "fifth mode of transportation" -- in addition to the train, plane, automobile and boat.

"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," Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Musk has yet to outline the details of his design. However, at the D11 conference in May, he said that a Hyperloop is a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table."

Wired compares the engineering of Hyperloop to an Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system proposed by a company called ET3, which consists of two tubes that carry 400-pound cars at speeds ranging from 370 miles to 4,000 miles per hour.

At this point, specific details of Hyperloop are speculation. Musk did not reveal any additional details on the proposed plan.