We should know by now that no matter how over the top the best-laid plans of Elon Musk seem... well, you just can't dismiss them as wild fantasies likely to slip twixt cup and lip.
Seriously, if someone other than Elon Musk says he envisions a totally new mode of transportation that could move people between the downtowns of Los Angeles and San Francisco (380 miles) in 30 minutes, is not weather dependent, and would never crash, one would have to dismiss that as a Tom Swiftian pipe dream.
But that's just what Elon Musk announced last summer, and today he tweeted that real plans – alpha though those plans may be – for what he calls a Hyperloop transportation system, will be revealed by Aug. 12.
There is no doubt that Musk gets things done. Despite plenty of naysayers (myself included), his Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has managed to produce a luxury plug-in electric sedan approaching long-range viability that has been getting rave reviews from the likes of not only Car and Driver but also Consumer Reports.
The company has also managed to pull a non-GAAP profit out of its hat in this year's first quarter that allowed it to pay off its U.S. government loan early. It also saw its stock price quadruple since the beginning of the year.
If that's not enough, there's Musk's SpaceX, the private company that designs, builds, and successfully launches rockets to make deliveries to the International Space Station, missions that NASA's Space Shuttle used to perform.
But what in the world is the Elon Musk Hyperloop? He described it at last May's D11 conference as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and air hockey table," a system that would cost "one-tenth of the cost" the planned California high-speed rail project.
He even said last year, when he talked to PandoDaily, that the Hyperloop could be made "self-powering if you put solar panels on it, you generate more power than you would consume in the system. There's a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely."
There's one thing we do know of the Hyperloop. It won't run in a vacuum tunnel. Musk has already ruled that out. Speculation from Gizmag has the Hyperloop using electromagnetic pulses to push a capsule through a closed pneumatic tube at high subsonic speeds, say around Mach 0.90.
Elon Musk followers, mark Aug. 12 on your calendars as Hyperloop Day. I wouldn't bet on Musk's plans being just Hyperloop hype.