Musk's hyperloop site will be transformed into a parking lot- here's why

Does that spell the end of the project?
Loukia Papadopoulos
The hyperloop site.jpg
The hyperloop site

The Boring Company/Twitter 

It’s not looking good for Elon Musk’s hyperloop. The site of the futuristic train-like vehicle is now going to be turned into a parking lot, according to a report by Bloomberg published on Thursday.

Still, it's not all doom and gloom.

A large site well suited for a parking lot

The site will provide ample space for Space X employees to park their cars. Due to Hyperloop's prototype tunnel measuring approximately one mile in length and 12 feet (3.6 meters) wide, it's large enough size to host a parking lot. And quite comfortably too.

Additionally, its proximity to the Hawthorne Municipal Airport just outside of Los Angeles, makes the location a prime one for SpaceX staff. Hyperloop was being built by Precision Construction Services with the help of a few other contractors.

The construction firm’s owner Erik Wright was notified earlier this year that the tunnel would soon be turned into a parking lot. Bloomberg further reported that as of last week, no traces of the tunnel could be found in Hawthorne and local city council had confirmed the site’s transformation into a new structure.

Does this spell the end of Musk’s Hyperloop plans? It’s hard to say. As the billionaire moves at least some of his main operations to Texas, it could be that he also plans on moving Hyperloop there.

The Hyperloop was first proposed by Musk in a white paper in 2013 as a theoretical concept for a transportation system that would send passengers in autonomous electric pods through a vacuum-sealed tube traveling at speeds higher than 600 mile per hour (mph).

When Musk published his white paper, he also called on other companies to take the mantle as he was focusing primarily on his work with SpaceX and Tesla. SpaceX also hosted a hyperloop competition between 2015 and 2019 where students and enthusiasts built prototype versions of the transport pods.

The system is still theoretical, though companies such as Hyperloop TT have developed concepts such as the hyperloop port for efficient ground cargo transport at "airplane speeds."

No working example of Hyperloop

Regardless of these efforts, we are yet to see a working example of Hyperloop, and some have claimed the system may not be commercially viable. According to leaked documents from Hyperloop One in 2016, the cost of Hyperloop is likely much higher than Musk anticipated in his 2013 white paper due to the many variables that need to be taken into account depending on the track's location.

Musk had originally estimated that Hyperloop would cost $11 million per mile of track.

In April of 2022, The Boring Company announced it would start "full-scale" testing of Hyperloop as early as this year. So, the questions that arise from all these developments are what happened to Hyperloop and has this project been canceled?

Will it be confirmed once and for all that Hyperloop is dead? Or is the vehicle simply changing location? The answers will surely come in time from Elon Musk and The Boring Company. We'll keep you posted.

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