Elon Musk Announces Approval of Hyperloop Connecting NY to DC

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Elon Musk is certainly not afraid of the spotlight. The business mogul has wowed the nation in the past by taking on ambitious projects such as launching the first recycled rocket, planning to colonize Mars, and attempting to design the safest vehicle that also happens to be electric and affordable to the common citizen. 

As reported by Forbes, the serial entrepreneur has raised eyebrows once again by taking to Twitter last week, to announce that he had received verbal government approval to build a hyperloop below ground, that would connect New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. In the tweet, Musk wrote that the hyperloop will deliver cars between New York and Washington, D.C. in 29 minutes.

The hyperloop is planned to be built by The Boring Company, a Los Angeles based infrastructure and tunneling company, founded by none other than Musk himself. Musk started the company back in 2016 after he began juggling with the idea of building tunnels for travel. The concept, as of now, entails elevators, which look like parking spaces located on the side of roads, that are actually platforms that can carry a vehicle below ground, to the hyperloop rail. These platforms would then deliver the car and its passengers at very high speeds of around 150 mph through the tunnel. In another tweet Musk wrote that each city would have about a dozen platforms built alongside commercial roads.

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The sub-ground hyper rail concept originally stems from Musk’s earlier 2012 vision, of an above ground tube train that he believed would be the future of travel. Musk initially envisioned above ground tubes delivering individuals housed in pods, at speeds close to 700 mph. Hyperloop One, a company also based in Los Angeles, adopted Musk's old idea and has been working to make his vision a reality. The company is looking to commercialize the hyperloop system and allow individuals to travel at the super-speeds for a fraction of the cost.

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Musk’s current vision meanwhile, is focused on below ground travel, transporting people in their own vehicles through underground tunnels, at very high speeds. Musk explains that one of the main reasons this large project is necessary, is to alleviate traffic congestion in large cities. In response to a tweet asking if he is considering adding underground hyperloops in other cities as well, Musk confirms that he is evaluating loops connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, and a loop for Texas.

There are still more questions about the project than answers. Musk did not specify who gave the verbal approval, however, he did say official approval will be given soon. It has also not been specified how the project will be funded either, which is a quite a looming question given the high cost of tunneling. For example, the Second Avenue Subway built along the East Side of Manhattan cost $4.5 billion to construct just three more stops.

It can't be ignored however, that an underground hyperloop would be an extraordinary innovation in the world of travel. Traffic congestion is an everyday issue that causes delays, and poses potential road rage car crash and pedestrian accident risks. This project would revolutionize how people travel by offering a much faster means of transportation while also greatly reducing traffic in large cities. There are still many questions about the project that Musk will hopefully answer, or tweet about, in the near future. 


Only time will tell if Elon Musk is successful in constructing an underground hyperloop. The underground hyper rail would allow for exceptionally faster transportation between cities, while alleviating traffic congestion. In the meantime however, traffic congestion is still a major problem that can cause stress for drivers and may even lead to road rage car accidents. If you have been involved in an accident caused by a reckless driver or a road rage driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation. 

Electric Car Sales Reached Record High in 2016

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Today, environmental issues have become a primary concern in society. With many policymakers, activists, and corporations alike, all seeking to inspire a greater movement to sustain the Earth, it is not surprising that the “green movement” is beginning to impact certain industries, specifically the automotive industry. According to Greentech Media, the electric car market hit a record high last year in 2016 when 750,000 electric cars were sold. There are 2 million electric cars being driven in the world today, meaning that almost half of the world's electric cars were sold last year! Although 2 million only accounts for 2% of the market for small, passenger vehicles, it is a large feat for the industry that just began scratching the surface in 2010.

China has led the electric car market, competing directly with the Detroit, Michigan automakers. Of the 750,000 electric vehicles sold last year, China sold 336,000, with much credit due to BYD, a Chinese automaker that has dominated the electric vehicle (EV) market and was responsible for roughly 1/3rd of the country's EV sales. Yet, according to electrek, BYD has recently seen sales drop 34% in early 2017 due to the Chinese government reducing electric vehicle subsidies and incentives, which have been the main reason behind the market’s rapid growth.

After China, Europe sold the second highest amount of electric vehicles, accounting for 215,000. Norway saw the highest EV sales in Europe, selling about 62,000 vehicles. Other European countries that have contributed to sales include the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, and Sweden. The United States trailed China and Europe selling 160,000 vehicles last year.

Credit:  IEA

Credit: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is optimistic about future growth in the electric car market, projecting car sales between 9 million and 20 million by 2020, and sales between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. Since this is quite a leap from last year's three quarters of a million, many wonder if these numbers are attainable. The answer is that car sales are dependent on the green movement continuing to motivate consumers into seeking more environmentally friendly transportation, as well as automakers designing more practical and less expensive electric vehicles. 

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It's tough enough to buy a regular gasoline car without doing a ton of research, that it's even more difficult for some people to consider electric cars too. Until electric vehicles gain more popularity, the average person may not know enough about them to know how to purchase one of if it's the right vehicle for them. Below is a list of pros and cons provided by PluginCars to aid in decision making.

Cons of Electric Cars:

  1. Limited driving range. A main concern about EVs is that they have a limited driving range of about 80 to 100 miles before they need to recharge. This makes it difficult to take long trips with the car because charging stations may be many miles away and it takes hours to fully recharge.
  2. That leads to the next con, long charging time. However, the time it takes to charge an EV completely depends on the size of its battery. As a general measure for all EVs, 1 hour of charging can put about 20-25 miles back into the car.
  3. EVs are expensive. The average price for an EV is between $30,000 and $40,000, which is more expensive than a standard gas-powered vehicle of its size. However, most U.S. states offer incentives for purchasing electric cars, you can view the incentives by each state here.
  4. Minimal consumer choice. Many of the EV models look similar, and some people do not care for the typical design of an electric car. However, this has been an issue well-addressed by automakers and many new designs have been developed or are in the development process.

Pros of Electric Cars:

  1. They are quiet and quick. An EV delivers a much smoother and quieter ride, and electric cars possess more torque allowing the car to accelerate faster.
  2. EVs can be recharged at home. Electric cars can be easily charged in the confines of your home by simply plugging in the charger into an outlet and letting it charge overnight. In the morning it will be fully charged and ready to be driven.
  3. EVs are cheaper to drive. The cost per mile to fuel an electric vehicle is about 1/4th the cost of gasoline. Also, because the vehicle is electric, the only maintenance costs incurred are tire rotations and maintaining inflated tires.
  4. They do not produce carbon emissions. Of course, the largest benefit to electric vehicles is that they do not include a tailpipe that gives off harmful chemicals into the air, therefore they produce better air quality and benefit the environment.

 

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Clearly, there are both benefits and issues with electric cars, but with the ongoing movement to help sustain the environment, it is foreseeable that EV sales will continue to rise. Given the ongoing creation of new designs and longer lasting batteries from innovative companies such as Tesla, these vehicles are becoming more attractive and appealing to the consumer. It remains to be seen whether electric cars will take over the automotive industry in the future, but it is safe to say the market for electric vehicles will experience considerable growth in the upcoming years.


Electric vehicles are better for the environment and can help reduce our carbon footprint, however, they do not reduce the chance of getting into a car accident. If you or anyone you know has been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Tesla Puts "Bioweapon Defense Mode" to the Test

Tesla Motors has gained a reputation for producing safe cars that may prevent major injuries from taking place in an auto accident, but they have started to focus on making the environment safer as well. The car company has been testing their HEPA filtration system, "Bioweapon Defense Mode," which is able to remove at least 99.97% of pollen, bacteria, and pollution from the outside air before they enter the vehicle. 

In order to test the capability of the filtration system, Tesla pumped levels of pollution said to be 200 times higher than the world’s current highest levels in Beijing, China, into a bubble which held a Tesla Model X vehicle. It took all of two minutes for the system to completely neutralize the levels of pollution around the vehicle. Tesla told The Next Web that “you could literally survive a military-grade bio attack by sitting in your car.” In the graph below, published on Tesla's blog, you can see how the quality of air changed both inside and outside of the car, once the doors were closed and the Bioweapon Defense Mode was activated. 

Tesla Bioweapon Defense Mode

 

To be sure that its filtration system was up to the test, Tesla decided to take it into the real world. The Model X was taken through California freeways during rush hour, smelly marshes, landfills, and cow pastures in the central valley of California, according to Tesla’s website. Sure enough, it not only cleaned the air that was coming into the vehicle, but it was also cleaning the air around the vehicle. 

As pollution becomes a larger issue for developed nations such as the United States, car companies will begin to put a heavier emphasis on air quality for the vehicles they produce. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution can now be considered “the world’s largest single environmental health risk,” as it now claims the lives of more than three million people every year, more than twice the number of deaths due to car accidents. 

Tesla's Other Safety Benefits

Air quality is not the only safety feature that Tesla has become known for, as their technology pertaining to preventing and sustaining collisions has become a selling point. Tesla has boasted a 5-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a rating that approximately one percent of all cars tested by the federal government receive. 

Tesla Model S Car

Brian Martel, a Texas resident, was driving a Tesla Signature Red Performance Model S when he was T-boned at an intersection by another driver. While there were some minor bumps and bruises, there were no substantial injuries. Martel said that “any other car would likely have rolled over and possibly caused severe injury to someone in my family.” 

When choosing a new vehicle, it's important to ask about the safety features that are included. Keep in mind the environmental impact the car may have, as well as how it may hold up when involved in a collision. As Brain Martel can attest to, it can be the difference between life and death. 

In a move to protect Michigan-based auto companies, Tesla vehicles are currently banned from being sold in the state, as a result of October 2014 law that was passed by the Michigan legislature. 


Auto accidents take place everyday. If you or someone you know has been in an auto accident, including accidents involving electric cars, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are experienced with handling all types of motor vehicle accidents, and will get you the help you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.