Ground may already have been broken for California's high speed rail network, but Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk's competing Hyperloop transport system has moved a step closer to reality.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is the new company aimed at turning Musk's pneumatic pod system into rapid-transit reality.

Speaking to Fox News, HTT's Patricia Galloway says the feasibility study has already been done, and the company is already working towards conceptual design for the project.

Musk, who teased the Hyperloop concept for months before revealing his concept drawings in August, calls Hyperloop the "fifth mode" of transportation, alongside boats, automobiles, aircraft and trains.

Hyperloop 101

He came up with the idea of the system as a way of getting between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just thirty minutes--equivalent to 800 miles per hour. The Hyperloop would be an alternative to California's "slow" high speed rail network, for which the first ground was dug in Fresno just last week.

It would also be cheaper to make, according to Musk--as the system would follow California's freeways on a pylon network. This would make it quicker to build and eliminate the need for hundreds of miles of new land acquisition.

Passengers would sit in tube-like pods, propelled at high speed in a near-vacuum tube on a cushion of air, inhaled by a large electric fan at the front of each pod. With solar power providing the electricity, it would even generate enough excess energy to send back to the grid--making it far greener than any existing rail plans.

Expert team

Galloway's credentials for turning such sci-fi transportation into reality are pretty impressive. She was the first woman president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a former member of the U.S. National Science Board. Recent projects on her resume include expanding the Panama Canal and building floodgates around the historic Italian city of Venice.

Joining Galloway is Marco Villa, former director of mission operations at--any guesses?--SpaceX, Elon Musk's other side-project.

Concept drawings for Elon Musk’s 800-mph Hyperloop

Concept drawings for Elon Musk’s 800-mph Hyperloop

Several other companies are also on-board, including manufacturing and design company GloCal Network Corporation (GLOCAL), UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s graduate program SUPRASTUDIO, and ANSYS, who completed the feasibility analysis.

A project this large needs money, of course--so Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is being announced on crowd-funding site JumpStartFund--for ideas, as well as financial input. For this, some other larger investors are already interested in the project.

The team already has support from engineering companies too--many of whom see it as entirely feasible. Just how feasible could be revealed by the end of 2014, when the first prototype could already be up and running.

And Musk? He's busy running Tesla and SpaceX, still, and won't have any involvement in HTT's plans. But Fox reports that Musk has already wished the team well. And if Hyperloop ever becomes reality, you can be sure he'll attract plenty of praise all the same...

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]


Follow GreenCarReports on FacebookTwitter and Google+