Elon Musk has an idea for an electric plane that takes off vertically


There’s just no stopping Elon Musk, is there? While answering questions at the awards ceremony for the Hyperloop Pod competition earlier this week, Musk talked about his idea for an electric plane that can take off vertically, and expressed his interest in making the idea a reality. Aside from the obvious benefits to the environment that an electric plane would bring, the vertical takeoff capability would remove the need for runways, which can be difficult to build due to both their size and the cost of building them. 

Answering an audience question at the Hyperloop Pod competition awards ceremony at Texas A&M University earlier this week, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said of his next great idea: “I have been thinking about the vertical takeoff and landing electric jet a bit more. I think I have something that might close. I’m quite tempted to do something about it.” That could be something. Unlike traditional planes, an aircraft with vertical take off and landing (VTOL) capabilities doesn’t need a runway to get in the air and can hover above ground. Musk could well have triumphantly dropped the mic at that point: the last time he said he had a good idea, he proposed the Hyperloop high-speed train system in 2013. There’s now a funded startup working on the technology for this new-age transport system. Plus, SpaceX is building a test track in California this summer, when a team of students from MIT who won Musk’s competition will test the 800MPH pod it designed.

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