The world’s energy infrastructure may soon undergo significant change; Tesla Motors recently unveiled the Powerwall, a compact, lithium-ion battery pack that will allow residents to autonomously consume energy by drawing from their own sun-powered reserve. For just $3,500, you can purchase an attractive, wall-mounted battery capable of storing up to 10 kilowatt-hours of energy – about a third of what the average US household uses daily. Beyond this, the company will also be offering scalable Powerpacks to businesses and utility companies that will allow limitless storage. Powerwalls will go out for delivery this summer.
Often, it is only with hindsight that we can truly understand our world; looking back at how important certain events and people proved to be is much easier than predicting their importance at the time. Still, guessing who will be remembered in posterity is a fun game, so The Atlantic asked various industry leaders “Who Will Tomorrow’s Historians Consider Today’s Greatest Inventors?” The answers span across business, science, technology and design, and among the 9 nominations there are a few names that architects and urban designers may find interesting. Read on after the break to find out just who they are.
Imagine driving your car into a sizable aluminum pod and being shot 800 miles per hour through an elevated, shotgun-like barrel to arrive at a city 400 miles away within 30 minutes. According to Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Motors, Californians will be doing this within the next decade.
Nearly a year after mentioning the possibility of a hyper-speed transit system and voicing discontent over the state’s “expensive, slow and impractical” high-speed rail proposal, Musk has unveiled a detailed synopsis of his solar- and wind-powered “Hyperloop.” The idea, originally inspired by the vacuum tubes used to transport checks at bank drive-throughs, has the potential to revolutionize mass transit.
Only hours have passed since Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial bill providing initial funding for California’s $68 billion High-Speed Rail project, which will connect Sacramento to San Francisco to Los Angeles, but already another plan has emerged that could blow all of California’s efforts out of the water.
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and the co-founder of both PayPal and Tesla Motors, isn’t content with his plans to get astronauts to the International Space Station or put humans on Mars. He recently shared with PandoDaily his desire to patent a 5th mode of transportation, which he coins the “Hyperloop,” that would cheaply get passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles – in just 30 minutes. What’s more, Musk claims the “Hyperloop” will never crash, be immune to weather, go twice as fast as an aeroplane, four times as fast as a bullet train, and – to top it off – run completely on solar power.
So, what would it look like? Although Musk likened the idea to Aeromovel (shown above) as well as a “Jetsons-tunnel” that “whisks you away,” no one really has any idea. Musk’s open sourcing the implementation to “anyone who can make a credible case that they can do it.” So whether the next frontier of transportation is pod-like, tube-like, or just a glorified train, we’ll have to wait at least a few weeks more before Musk’s willing to give up any more details…