Travel at the speed of change

A rendering of a Hyperloop by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.Hyperloop, the transportation brainchild of Tesla boss Elon Musk which plans to take you from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes, could be be free to use, according to the CEO of the project.

Comparing the business model to that of video games, which have increasingly moved to in-game add-on purchases, Dirk Ahlborn told a question and answer session with CNBC at the Pioneers Festival tech show in Vienna that Hyperloop could follow the same model.

"When we think about video games, they are free and are making more money (than ever before) through upsales in-game."

"We are thinking about tickets and whether this is the right way to make money, " he added, saying that fares could be free during off-peak times and very low-cost during peak time.

Ahlborn said he is looking at other ways for the project to make money but did not outline specific plans.

Source: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

A rendering of a Hyperloop by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

'Break ground' in 2016

Hyperloop has moved closer to reality after inking a deal this week with landowners in California's Quay Valley to build an 8 kilometer test track for the project, which it expects to "break ground" in 2016.

The system would be a number of passenger capsules that would be propelled by magnets at a speed of 750 mph or close to the speed of sound.

"The next phase now is to use this 8 kilometer track which is not about speed, it's about optimizing all these systems - passenger boarding, capsule handling - once we have done that we can go and start building the first multibillion-dollar track which is full length, " Ahlborn told CNBC in a TV interview.

The CEO envisions a system where users can call a self-driving car or ride sharing service to transport them to a local Hyperloop station where they can catch a capsule to the main LA to San Francisco line.

After the U.S. launch, Ahlborn said the next markets are likely to be the Middle East and Africa before it comes to Europe.


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