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Hyperloop Unveiled: Elon Musk Tells All

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk unveiled his design for his ultra-fast transportation, the Hyperloop, and is it ever a doozy.

In an exclusive to BusinessWeek, Musk revealed it would change the status quo of transporting people between cities that are 1,000 miles between each other. It would transport people using aluminum pods inside steel tubes. He described it as being similar to a shotgun with tubes side by side and closing at both ends of the loop. The tubes are mounted on columns and could ship people as fast as 800 miles per hour.

Musk first became focused on the Hyperloop when hearing details of California's high-speed rail system, which is slated to start this year yet could cost as much as $100 billion.

On Tesla's conference call discussion second-quarter earnings, Musk said that he had put himself into a corner by mentioning the Hyperloop, but that Tesla shareholders wouldn't immediately benefit from the system. "I think I kind of shot myself if I ever mentioning Hyperloop, because obviously I have to focus on core Tesla business and SpaceX business and that's more than enough," Musk said on the call.

"But I did commit to publishing a design and provide quite a detailed design I think on Monday and then invite critical feedback and see if the people can find ways to improve it and then you can just be out there as kind of like a open source design that maybe you can keep improving and I don't have any plan to execute, because I must remain focused on SpaceX and Tesla," Musk continued saying on Tesla's earnings call. "If nothing happens for a few years, with that I mean maybe it could make sense to make the halfway path with Tesla involvement, but I would say is you shouldn't be speculative."

The enigmatic Tesla, PayPal and SpaceX co-founder believes the Hyperloop, which would closely follow California's I-5 highway, could be built for as little as $6 billion if it transported people only, or $10 billion if it transported cars as well as people.

Earlier Monday, Musk tweeted that he had been up all night working on the design of the transport system.

The cost of a ticker on the Hyperloop could be as little as one-tenth the cost on the high-speed rail train, and according to Musk, "much cheaper" than a plane ride.

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