Is the Hyperloop Worth it? - Pennsylvania State Web viewIs the Hyperloop Worth it? An investigation...

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12/3/2015 Is the Hyperloop Worth it? An investigation of the Hyperloop when compared to current transportation Darius Khademi Kyra Lagunilla Jonathan Lee HaRim Bong ENGINEERING DESIGN 100 SECTION 20

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Transcript of Is the Hyperloop Worth it? - Pennsylvania State Web viewIs the Hyperloop Worth it? An investigation...

Is the Hyperloop Worth it?



Global is this generations favorite word that envisions success and progress in the world. As the world becomes more globalized, people need faster transportation to meet the expectations of their hectic lives. Starting from the car, we developed the ship, train, and airplane to travel around the world faster The Airplane, for now, is the fastest mode of transportation but passengers have to spend money on expensive tickets. The train is a decent form of transportation, but it takes longer to get to a destination. Now, new technologies have been developed that allows a vehicle to be fast like an airplane but no more expensive than a train. The answer to our transportation needs is the Hyperloop.

The Hyperloop is a high speed train that can reach 750MPH due to its structural advantage. The cost of building the Hyperloop is much cheaper than building a high-speed train. Building the Hyperloop from San Francisco to Los Angeles would cost around $10 billion for capsules and two-way tube railways.

In terms of energy, time, and cost, the Hyperloop is better than current modes transportation. On the other hand, since it is potentially the best transportation, it might have a large initial demand and be semi-exclusive once opened to the public.

Table of Contents

Summarypg 4

Introductionpg 6

Methods of Investigationpg 7

Results Section

Travel Timepg 9

Energypg 10

Costpg 12

Counter Argumentspg 13

Conclusionpg 15

Appendixpg 16

Bibliographypg 19


1.1 The Problem

After a thorough investigation of the California high speed railway system, along with

a look at other statewide travel, our group determined that the California high-speed

railway is the most inefficient solution, in terms of safety, speed, cost, convenience,

weather immunity, power sustainability, resistance to earthquakes and to not be

disruptive to those along the route.

1.2 Method of Investigation

Four different types of statewide travel systems were selected, Elon Musks Hyperloop system, and either bus, flight, or railway. However, in order to prove that Elon Musks Hyperloop would work in a certain niche area, the travel effectiveness of each was analyzed and compared to the Hyperloop. Railways were deemed to be the main competitor to the Hyperloop due to their similar design of riding on a rail, and for most, a train or similar would be used for the route from San Francisco to LA instead of an airplane due to the relatively short distance/cost of travel.

1.3 Conclusion

Elon Musks Hyperloop is the most efficient solution, in terms of safety, speed, cost,

convenience, weather immunity, power sustainability, and resistance to earthquakes and

to not be disruptive to those along the route. Costing only $20 a ticket, to travel 350 miles

in just 35 minutes. Making the Hyperloop the most feasible mode or transportation

between densely populated cities.

1.4 Recommended Solution

Californias government should abandon the California high-speed railway project,

saving the state billions dollars, and replace it with Elon Musks Hyperloop.

2.0 Introduction

2.1 Subject

The Hyperloop is designed to be faster than all public ground transportation of today, this new technology shall be investigated and related to the public transportation system that is currently in place, California passenger trains. The new technologies may imply that the Hyperloop system more efficient and effective than the current railway system, however, new technology has downsides as well.

2.2 Purpose

To discover if the new Hyperloop design is significantly better than the railway. Both the railroad and the Hyperloop shall be evaluated for travel time, energy consumption, and overall cost.

2.3 Scope

The Hyperloop and Railway systems will be evaluated on a route from LA to San Francisco. The railway will be evaluated by using the current route along the Coast Starlight Track and the Hyperloop will be evaluated along its proposed route along the California Interstate 5 highway. Energy consumption by the Hyperloop shall be evaluated through proposed numbers where as the California Railway system shall be evaluated by current statistics by the US EPA. Cost comparisons for both the Hyperloop and Railway systems shall be evaluated through 3 primary aspects, transportation, cost of production, cost per ticket, and annual profit.

3.0 Methods, Assumptions, and Procedures

First we selected 4 different types of statewide travel systems, between major cities such

as San Francisco and Los Angeles, and compared each of them in terms of Energy

consumption, cost and time of travel. The control was that the trip was from San

Francisco to LA.

Bus travel was determined to be the most economically efficient costing just $15 a ticket

with minimal upkeep and maximum track efficiency. Although trips range from 11 to

11.5 hours, making it the longest time. While buses have been innovated to be more

environmentally friendly with natural gases and electric busses, they still are nowhere

near self-sustaining. A bus gets on average 6.3 miles per gallon, with the price for gas

being $2 a gallon. Making it very inefficient in terms of fuel.

Traveling via flight is currently the fastest terms of travel, but also the most expensive per

unit. A single plane ticket to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles would cost around

$140 with an average 1.5-hour flight time. However the issue with plane travel is that

fuel consumption is dependent on weight, although on average planes get around 80 mpg

of fuel, making it very fuel efficient, and some of the newer models can even get

120mpg. The cost for jet fuel per gallon is $5.21 making it much more effective than a bus

because the price per gallon is high, and miles per gallon are much more than on a bus.

Passenger Trains (California high speed railway) receive an average 70mgp making them

very fuel-efficient but nowhere near the most. The travel time between San Francisco and

Los Angeles would be between 2.5-3 hours making it more time effect than a bus or car.

But the cost of land to lay the track is very expensive. The biggest issue with any railway

is the rail itself, the upkeep and maintenance required is costly and time consuming. The

project was projected to cost $67.6 billion, but yields a 2 billion annual profit.

The Hyperloop statistics were gathered from Elon Musks original design. While there may be changes in the future, the report is very detailed and contains all of the aspects that will be compared in this report. Namely travel time, cost, and energy consumption. The Hyperloop is compared using these proposed statistics because it has not been built yet.

4.0 Results and Discussion

4.1 Travel Time

When comparing overall speed and travel time of the Hyperloop to the California Railway, it appears that the Hyperloop is the clear leader. It is faster, has less stops, but most importantly, it is built on different transportation system than the standard train. While the train has to travel with other trains on the track and multiple stops, the Hyperloop would have little to no delays. (Musk)

The main issue with trains today is that there are a lot more freight and generally more traffic on these rail lines than there were previously. The freight system is severely harming the public transportation of trains due to the fact that they have no set schedule and passenger trains must yield to freight trains. (Vanderbilt) The yielding to freight trains means that the passenger trains take around 12 hours to complete the journey when compared to 7hr for highways (see appendix Figure B) and a proposed 30min via Hyperloop (Hargreaves) (see appendix Figure A).

The Hyperloop is built in a vacuum sealed, low pressure tube where the car/capsule houses a vacuum engine that pulls the capsule with passengers along a magnetic rail. On straight sections it is possible for the Hyperloop capsule to reach up to 760mph. The key is that the Hyperloop is a separate enclosed system which not only allows people to get to their destination faster but to also have more departures. If running at capacity, the Hyperloop should be able to support capsules leaving every two minutes. (Musk)

The Hyperloop not only blows away the train system at speed, its main factor is that it is the only type of train running on its enclosed track. Therefore, making it much faster than current train transportation.

4.2 Energy

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector accounted for approximately 31% of annual CO2 emissions in the United States in 2014 compared to 27% in 2013 (Hanner). It is not surprising that transportation is starting to account for more and more pollution in the United States as more and more people are travelling further distances on a daily basis. There is an ever growing need for transportation from various locations all over the United States. In one way or another, all of the current modes of transportation rely heavily on fossil fuels. At the current fossil fuel consumption rate, the current modes of transportation will not be able to be supported at some point between 2050 and 2080. As the second worst carbon emitting state, California needs to provide a more energy conscious form of transportation (Bnger). The corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles is one of the most fr