Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors and Space Exploration Technologies, said today he may someday work to develop a supersonic, all-electric jet that could take off and land vertically. This would be more cost effective than Hyperloop at distances greater than 1000 miles.
Musk said he currently has his hands full with Tesla and SpaceX, and is not looking to start another company “anytime soon.” If he does, it would be to create the supersonic aircraft, which he described as “sort of the ultimate form of transport.”
I would take that to mean sometime after Tesla is at least the number three car company in the world in market capitalization (perhaps over $60 billion or when it is number one in the world). It would also be after Spacex has the Spacex Heavy flying and all stages of a rocket are reusable.
Those could happen sometime in the 2018 to 2025 timeframe. Waiting would also allow battery, fuel cell, superconductor and materials technology to improve.
At high enough altitudes, a supersonic plane would create a sonic boom no louder than current aircrafts if designed correctly, Musk said.
An electric plane would have major environmental benefits, in addition to being quiet and fast, Musk said. Because Musk’s super plane wouldn’t require a long runway to take off or land, airports could be smaller, allowing them to be built closer to popular destinations.