The future of transport – No loopy idea: (The Economist)
To travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes may no longer be science fiction. Elon Musk has unveiled his plan for a partially vacuum tube train that would travel at speeds of 1,200 kph and would be 1/10th the cost of the high-speed rail project that is currently being considered by Californian government. That’s 1,200 kph compared to 365 kph, and $6 billion compared to $68 billion. It will be powered by solar panels so the emissions associated with the project will be low (only the amount emitted during production and transportation of the solar panels, and during construction).
With Musk’s track record being what it is, this project is not as far fetched as some may think. Here is an LA Times article denouncing the plan, and Tesla’s 60 page pdf explaining the preliminary plan. It’s important to note that this could replace airline travel between the two cities, which is the most carbon intensive form of travel (see the figure below from IPCC — note that the Tesla train would have 0 emissions and would travel faster than a plane).