Will Hyperloop be tiny or huge by 2030?
Meet Elon Musk, founder of the Hyperloop Project. He is on a mission to produce trains that go faster than planes which sounds pretty amazing if it can be done.
And meet Diana, who commutes 3 hours regularly between LA and San Francisco.
In this article, I predict how huge Hyperloop will be by 2030 on a scale of 1 to 10 based on looking at:
- The technology needed
- The companies making it happen
- What's to love
- jobs that will be hired.
Hyperloop will be huge if the three major technology challenges are solved.
High Speed: Maglev technology
The High-Speed Maglev technology that Elon needs for the hyperloop by 2030 is already solved.
Elon uses sealed tubes in which pressurized vehicles called pods travel super fast. The pods move at high speeds because they use a magnetic levitation technology system (also known as maglev) made up of sets of magnets. This technology both elevates the pod and thrusts it forwards removing friction and so enables the pods to move at high speed.
Maglev technology is tried and tested on trains in China and Japan with speeds up to 310 miles per hour.
High Speed: Vacuum
The high-speed vacuum technology also needed is solved by 2030.
Elon’s vision of building sealed airless tubes has been brought to life by Virgin Hyperloop One and some other companies. They put air pumps beneath the elevated tubes. Suck out 99% of the air from the tube making a vacuum. The result is the reduction of air drag in the tubes doubling the maglev-only speed to faster than 670 miles per hour, 100 miles an hour faster than a commercial plane.
The technology needed for hyperloop pods is solved.
Passengers travel in these pods. They glide at airline speeds for long distances due to their ultra-low aerodynamic drag in the vacuum tube. Inside the pod, travellers sit side by side, surrounded by virtual windows. These high-definition ‘windows’ offer a simulated 360° view of the surrounding landscape.
In addition to the virtual wall, travellers have screens displaying information about energy saving, the current pod speed and entertainment.
Hyperloop will be huge if there are unicorns - startup companies that have a valuation of more than a billion dollars and when there's plenty of big established companies.
Virgin Hyperloop One
Virgin Hyperloop One is on its way to being a unicorn valued at $700 million in 2019. Richard Branson's Virgin Group has invested. In November 2020, the company did its first successful Hyperloop testing with passengers on board. This is the only fully developed test track in the world. It is in Missouri - but only 500 meters long. The company is working on various project proposals including one from Riyadh to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
TransPod may one day be a unicorn. Sébastien Gendron is the CEO and founder of this Canadian-French company.
In 2017, the governments of Toronto, Ontario and Canada announced a joint funding plan of $1.2 billion to aid hyperloop projects of which Transpod is a beneficiary.
Zeleros is another hyperloop startup. It was co-founded by its current CEO David Pistoni. It has built Europe's first Hyperloop prototype in Spain.
It was co-founded by its current CEO David Pistoni. It has built Europe's first Hyperloop prototype in Spain.
A few big companies are active including SpaceX, Hitachi and AECOM
Elon Musk and Space X ingeniously open sourced the hyperloop idea. From 2015 to 2019 they ran an annual Hyperloop Pod Competition which got it all off the ground.
Hitachi is making partnerships between its rail division and hyperloop companies.
AECOM, the multinational engineering firm, is building the infrastructure. Elon Musk asked them to design and build the world’s first Hyperloop test track in Texas.
For Hyperloop to be huge travellers will be showing similar 5 star levels of love that people give to Uber today.
Travellers will give it 5 stars for superfast travel. Elon calls Hyperloop the 'Fifth Mode' of transport - complementing planes, trains, cars and boats.
For Diana, it will take 35 minutes from LA to San Francisco,
30 minutes from Paris to Berlin and 25 minutes from Mumbai to Pune.
Hyperloop scores 3 stars for sustainability.
Today, Diana's commute contributes to air travel's 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
By using renewable energy sources like wind and solar, there will be no emissions with Hyperloop. However, the construction process of Hyperloop is not environmentally friendly: huge amounts of concrete and steel, cutting down trees and digging tunnels, hence lowering the score to 3 stars.
Hyperloop gets a 1 star for construction feasibility. This may sound a bit harsh giving it 1 star.
But it's going to take a massive effort to construct the huge vacuum pipes taking years to get planning permission and incur high construction costs. Some unpopulated areas that are relatively flat will be good to travel through and may appear by 2030 perhaps in Saudi Arabia for example but it won't be in many other areas.
If Hyperloop is going to be huge there will be lots of jobs hired and fired.
Ground crew at airports will be fired if hyperloop ever takes over a busy commuter route.
On the hired side, the Virgin Hyperloop team has 53 vacancies listed on LinkedIn.
They are across multiple job functions including: Technicians, Electrical Engineers, Cyber security and Graphic design. It's well worth looking at LinkedIn if you're interested in getting a job in the air taxi sector.
Helping you make good career decisions is a big reason why I'm doing this Life in 2030 channel. Jobs in fast growing new sectors like air taxis are exciting and more secure than in older sectors.
Jobs in Hyperloop industry are all around the world. Jobs in the Hyperloop industry are all around the world. Virgin Hyperloop One is headquartered in Los Angeles. TransPod in Canada and France. Zeleros in Spain.
You could set up some job alerts for these companies. It's easy to do on LinkedIn and click to have a look at my 'Finding great jobs for life in 2030' video. Because there's plenty of jobs being hired and fired, from a Jobs point of view, Hyperloop is at the Huge end of the scale.