Nextbigfuture has covered vacuum tube transportation (ET3) before and also covered low pressure tube transportation.
Propulsion energy required is 100,000 times less than required by a car
ET3 will achieve 50 times more transportation per kWh (or ton of CO2) than electric cars or trains.
The cost is ten times less. They calculate they can build an ET3 system for about $7 million per mile.
ET3 has been awarded two recent patents. One is for the system and another patent is for the interchange methods. There was an original patent in 1999.
ET3 is speaking with various companies in China and South Korea.
Description of the system
ET3 is “Space Travel on Earth” where car sized passenger capsules travel in 1.5m (5′) diameter tubes on frictionless maglev (magnetic levitated vehicle). Air is permanently removed from the two-way tubes that are built along a travel route. Airlocks at portals allow transfer of capsules without admitting air. Linear electric motors accelerate the capsules, which then coast through the vacuum for the remainder of the trip using no additional power. Most of the energy is regenerated as the capsules slow down where kinetic energy of the capsule is converted to electric power with a linear electric generator
The minimum initial proof of concept should be at least 30km to have practical use, and attract passengers and cargo away from other modes. In two to three years time from funding date (and permit date), a functional 30 km tube-line with substation activity and fully usable control system for the line to operate with an initial quantity of 8-10 capsules. Our previous bid work shows that this will cost about $100M (more or less depending on route specific requirements, and government requirements imposed or relaxed), and take 24 months from the time of permitting and funding (not including time for Right of Way (ROW) prep).
Phased Development of the minimum 30km will reduce investment risks, but require an additional 12 to 24 months, and may not represent sufficient private sector commitment to induce government cooperation. With a first phase minimum of $1M of seed funding and cooperation of a land owner or right-of-way holder on the proposed route, a 3rd generation production ready prototype High Temperature Superconducting Maglev (HTSM) levitated capsule, and 25m section of single tube with a working switch section can be built and tested.
With successful testing, the second phase requiring an additional $30m will allow construction and testing of a 5km segment with linear motor proving the high speed capability prior to releasing phase three funds to total the $100M commitment for the initial 30km two-way system with simple airlocks and switch and operating at a design speed of at least 600km/h.