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Musk's giant lie exposed - His flagship project makes a lot more sense than you thought

Jamie Cameron
29. 8. 2022
6 min read

I understand that not everyone is necessarily an Elon Musk fan. After all, some of his actions are really quite controversial and I believe he may have done harm with his words and to many people. Whether knowingly or not. On the other hand, no one can deny that what he has done is absolutely incredible and defies any standards we had before he came along. I really don't think Elon should be some hidden supervillain trying to subvert the system and ruin everything. If only for the reason that I can think of easier ways than building a few hyper successful companies first.

But some people obviously don't think so, and stick with the concept that Musk is really a supervillain and is only starting companies to get revenge and destroy his rivals. I just came across one of these on the internet.

Is Elon Musk a hidden villain?

Speculation

What exactly is going on here? What have they accused Elon of this time? The article I came across describes Musk's alleged efforts to kill the California High Speed Rail project. And that's exactly why he supposedly founded the Hyperloop project. Still don't get it either? Let's take a look at what the author is claiming. And could there be any truth to that? 🤔

Let me translate here probably the most important passage of the article:

Elon Musk never intended to develop the Hyperloop, but only wanted to sabotage the California high-speed rail projectAccording to
an American weekly, Elon Musk confided to his biographer that he did not actually intend to build the Hyperloop. He was only supposed to develop the concept to convince the Californian authorities to abandon the local high-speed rail project.

The project was indeed abandoned in 2019.

But was it due to Tesla's $TSLA+3.2% and SpaceX CEO?

The theory of deliberately hurting California would also suggest that Musk "packed his five plums" in the form of Tesla and left the state. I've come across countless responses on forums that dealt with the same article regarding the author citing as a source supposed information from the person who was supposed to have written Musk's biography. This is specifically what Musk himself is said to have told him. Apparently, however, the story is a little different.

What was it?

It was indeed disclosed in the biography. However, they all omit the complete quote with the context in that high speed rail was and is absolute nonsense from the start. The initial budget of $33 billion ($90 million per mile) to $113 billion ($300 million per mile) that started in 2008 and by 2012 had actually barely moved. So Elon threw out the Hyperloop idea and wrote a whitepaper about it in 2013 (link here :)) As was common with him, he and his colleagues would come up with things and potential solutions, often with the goal of just pitching ideas to others and seeing what came up (just to see if anyone would catch on), except in this case it was in the public domain. But where there is nothing, there is nothing. So he decided to act alone.

Elon, who is kind of... different, not always happy with how the California legislature handles things, attacked their idea with his, with the primary intent of pointing out the pointlessness and unworkability of their project. He carried the whole thing along with the hope that someone would take up the bad project and develop a better solution. 10 years have passed and the answer is that there is no better solution.

So this time it's probably not Musk's fault. I've also seen a few reactions that suggest this could be a tactic by Musk's enemies (quite possibly from the direction of Twitter) to smear him. But that's just the opinion of a few anonymous supporters of the world's richest man on the internet. The reality, I think, is more likely to be that the author was simply trying to make a sensationalist article that perhaps unexpectedly got out of hand.

So where does the Hyperloop stand?

It might not be a bad idea to also look at what the Hyperloop actually is. I was surprised at how many people still completely miss one of Musk's most important projects.

The Hyperloop is an upcoming high-speed transportation system for both public transport and freight. The hyperloop system consists of three basic elements: tunnels, modules and terminals. A tunnel is a large enclosed low-pressure system. A module is something like a car (simply a capsule) that moves inside this tube with essentially no air resistance or friction, and uses magnetic propulsion. A terminal handles the arrivals and departures of the modules.

In the text above I put a link to Musk's official whitepaper. Here's another explainer video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5fOWB6SNqs

Like the high-speed rail that the Hyperloop was deployed against, this project has one major flaw - it's quite expensive. It does, however, have one advantage. The best managers, engineers and scientists from around the world want to work on it. Whether it's Musk or Branson and their teams.

Financial and transportation experts have expressed the belief that Musk's $6 billion price tag dramatically underestimates the cost of designing, developing, building and testing an entirely new form of transportation. Leaked financial documents in 2016 show that Musk's Hyperloop will cost up to $13 billion, or $121 million per mile. We've heard that one before, right? 😂

Like any other form of transportation, hyperloop transportation carries inherent risks, and contingency measures still need to be built into the system in case of unforeseen disasters. At high speeds, even a small earthquake or the slightest vacuum tube failure would pose a significant danger to passengers and crew. In addition to ensuring safety, the hyperloop system must offer prices that would lure paying passengers away from current modes of transport.

Richard Branson's Virgin Hyperloop has lost out on some huge investments in the project. Yet in May 2019, the company raised $400 million from private investors and plans to begin commercial operations in 2030 (pushed back from earlier predictions that had the hyperloop ready for passengers in 2021).

In addition to Virgin, companies tackling the hurdles of this mode of transport include US startup Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT), which has signed a deal to build a test track in China, Dutch company Hardt Hyperloop and Canadian company TransPod. But until these companies raise hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, acquire the vast land necessary for a viable system, and demonstrate that the system can be operated safely, the hyperloop remains a dream of the near future.

What do you think - could Musk really want to harm a competing project in any way? Or is this just a stunt? And will it ever be possible to ride the Hyperloop?

If you enjoy my articles and posts, feel free to throw a follow. Thanks! 🔥

Disclaimer: This is in no way an investment recommendation. This is purely my summary and analysis based on data from the internet and a few other analyses. Investing in the financial markets is risky and everyone should invest based on their own decisions. I am just an amateur sharing my opinions.

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