a climaticidal smoking of Elon Musk?

Illustration: Energy Revolution.

The billionaire would have supported the development of the Hyperloop for the sole purpose of sabotaging the Californian high-speed rail project, according to Time. A climaticide sleight of hand from the leader, who nevertheless presents himself as very concerned about greenhouse gas emissions.

Public transport, “it sucks” for Elon Musk. At the end of 2017, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX declared all his disgust with this yet virtuous mode of travel. Buses, trams, trains and subways would be “extremely painful” usehe explained during a conference.

“We are exposed to lots of unknown people, among whom could be a serial killer” worried the billionaire, who declared not to understand the interest of a system “which does not start from where you want to go, does not arrive where you want to arrive, and does not leave at any time”.

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Overflowing enthusiasm for the Hyperloop

But then, why did Elon Musk encourage Hyperloop in 2013? the very high-speed train project, circulating in vacuum tubes, planned to cram around thirty passengers into particularly cramped capsules. Everything that the sulphurous leader therefore seems to repel.

The concept, however, has generated overwhelming enthusiasm, well beyond the Californian borders. In France, many media announced a Paris – Marseilles in 40 minutes within a few decades.

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France has fallen into the trap

The State and local authorities have even fallen into the trap: they have subsidized the Toulouse base of Hyperloop TTone of the companies that responded to Elon Musk’s call for tenders.

Despite the installation of a few tens of meters of tubes and the arrival of a capsule in 2019, the project flounders. Worse, at the end of 2021, the construction of a one-kilometre long track which was to allow the first tests to be launched, was abandoned. Slowness, opacity, broken promises: everything seems to be explained in the light of a revelation from Time.

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Defeat the California TGV project

According to the American weekly, Elon Musk confided to his biographer that he had no intention of actually building the Hyperloop. He would have only developed the concept in order to convince the Californian authorities to abandon the local TGV project.

Without knowing whether this sleight of hand had a real influence or not, the high-speed train line which was to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco was effectively discontinued in February 2019.

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The TGV would have captured 100 million passengers from ultra-carbon transport

Between Elon Musk and California, the marriage seemed to be floundering for a few years. Very critical of the policies applied by the State, the leader ended up expatriating to Texas at the end of 2020, taking Tesla in his luggage. Anyway, Elon Musk helped sabotage a public transport project that would have avoided the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases.

More’around 100 daily flights connect Los Angeles to San Francisco, the plane completes the trip in 1 hour compared to 7 to 8 hours by coach and more than 10 hours by train. The California TGV promised to connect the two cities in just 2 hours and would have diverted 90 to 100 million passengers from roads and airports each year.

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