Have you considered undercutting the freight market first?

As a reluctant trucker I see much oversized freight that won't fit in a 5' tube, however I also transport much that, packed differently at the shipper, would fit the 2' tube with ease. The USPS is a great target customer for small freight in great qualities that are times sensitive. Electronics, perishable foods, small parts manufacturing lines joined over long distances to act as one factory: undercut the cost of freight enough and industries will be BEGGING for diameter upgrades.

 

You also wrote: "As a reluctant trucker I see much oversized freight that won't fit in a 5' tube, however I also transport much that, packed differently at the shipper, would fit the 2' tube with ease. The USPS is a great target customer for small freight in great qualities that are times sensitive. Electronics, perishable foods, small parts manufacturing lines joined over long distances to act as one factory: undercut the cost of freight enough and industries will be BEGGING for diameter upgrades"

ANSWER:

To be clear, the ET3 term "tube" refers to the evacuated guideway structure (long tubes along a route), and the ET3 vehicles are referred to as 'capsules'. 

We agree that high value and time sensitive perishable goods transport offer much higher profits than passenger travel, and less liability too.  FedEx gets about $50 to overnight deliver a small envelope overnight across country (how many envelopes would fit in a 900lb cargo limit capsule?)  The conundrum is that the typical cargo haul is 800 miles, and 100 miles is about the minimum for profitability for cargo only use.  By contrast, if used as an amusement ride, a 3 mile ET3 route could be profitable but with greater risk and liability. 

We do not advocate non-standard ET3 diameters.  If ET3 is to be seamlessly networked on a global basis (our vision), it must all be built to the same standard diameter.  2' diameter capsules could move a lot of cargo, and also one or two persons at a time (laying down), however this is not optimum as too much cargo would have to go by other modes, and passenger comfort would be compromised so not as much transportation would take place in ET3.  Using two or three different size tubes would fragment the market ( resulting in less usefulness due to mode changes).  This lesson was learned the hard way with all the different railway gages that were used at first. 

Optimizing the diameter of the capsules is key to maximizing value.  If the diameter is a few cm too big ET3 will fail to reach maximum market share because it is a little too expensive.  If a few cm too small ET3 will not reach maximum market share due to low cargo utility and compromised comfort. 

About 6% of cargo will not fit in a standard 1.3m diameter X 4.95m long capsule, and about 2% of cargo will not fit in a standard 40' shipping container.  Increasing ET3 diameter to the size needed to fit 40' containers would increase the cost by a factor of 30, and only improve cargo utility by 4%.  Cargo is only half of the $8.65T per year that is spent globally for transportation.  Research shows that passenger use would suffer if bus sized capsules were used instead of the overwhelmingly preferred car sized vehicle.

Our considerable research shows a 1.5m (5') tube will accommodate a 1.3m (51") capsule and produce the greatest likely market value (and hence use).  If all ET3 is built to the same diameter standard it can be networked together on a national and even global basis.  Our vision is pallet-at-a-time loads from any manufacture in India or China to any city in EU or North America in 4 hours or less -- from manufacture to without switching modes.  

Some truckers express apprehension for ET3, fearing that it will put them out of business.  An alternative view is that ET3 implementation all over the world will create a flurry of economic activity, and that trucks will be needed to build the ET3 network on a global basis for 20 to 30 years until build out.  In addition, ET3 implementation in third world countries will grow the global economy increasing demand for US goods and services.  Also, large items will still be transported, so trucking will likely continue longer than trucks (or truckers) typically last. 

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