Elon Musk plans to build a working prototype of his revolutionary Hyperloop public transport system, despite previously saying he didn't have the time.
Speaking on a conference call after revealing a 57-page document explaining what the 800mph train is and how it works, Musk seemed to convince himself that building a working example of Hyperloop would be in his interest.
The Paypal founder said: "I've been thinking about that and I have to say I am sort of tempted to at least make a demonstration prototype...I've sort of come around a little bit on my thinking here. Maybe I could just do the beginning bit and create a sub-scale version that is operating and then hand it over to somebody else."
Musk's comments give the project more hope than when he spoke last week to say he had "shot himself in the foot" by ever mentioning the Hyperloop, which can theoretically transport 28 passengers 300 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes and run in either direction twice every minute.
However, while hope of seeing a working Hyperloop system has been restored, Musk admits he won't be building a prototype until he has made more progress with his two companies, Tesla and SpaceX.
"Ironing out the details at the sub-scale level is a tricky thing. I think I'll probably end up doing that, but it just won't be immediate but I want to focus on SpaceX and Tesla execution."
Later in the call to reporters Musk sounded convinced that he should get the project up and running, adding that financial gain from building the system was not in his interests. "I'm not trying to make a ton of money on this, but I would like to see it come to fruition. I think I probably will do that actually, I've sort of come around in my thinking on that part."
Musk has previously said that Hyperloop can never crash and when challenged on this claim, given that the tunnel would be built in an area of strong eartherquake activity, he said he plans to install eatherquake dampers in the pylons on which Hyperloop's tunnel sits.
"They're basically like shock absorbers. Now, there's potentially going to be some earthquake that's so gigantic that it overcomes the dampers, but then we have that same problem in buildings - if LA falls down then I guess Hyperloop will too. Relative to a train, where you can't [put shock absorbers] in the track, it should be quite a bit safer."
After months of speculation of what a "cross between Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table" could be, Musk published a 57-page document on 12 August detailing Hyperloop, explaining how it would work, and how much it would cost - a figure 10 times less than a 130mph train route planned for the same LA-to-San Francisco route by the US government.