The first Hyperloop to be built will have huge development costs. Development and construction costs might be diminished if the hyperloop were to be built and developed on site. Unfortunately, I think people are being scared away from even attempting to undertake the hyperloop due to these costs.
“It’s not the manufacturing costs worrying them,” he said. “The costs they’re worried about are the development costs.” A big part of that development cost would be to build a prototype that would highlight for engineers things Musk didn’t account for or anticipate in his proposal, things that could come out only in real-world tests.
But, I think they are underestimating innovation. Having manufactures build huge pieces transportation infrasturure offsite increases delays, and decreases innovative design. Two examples, one from Boston and the other the local Denver RTD commuter rail:
A long-awaited fleet of MBTA commuter rail cars, delivered 2½ years late by the South Korean manufacturer, is now so plagued by mechanical, engineering, and software problems that it has to be shipped to a facility in Rhode Island to be fitted with new parts.
The other example is from the great Denver Urbanism blog.
“There are no U.S.-owned builder of electric commuter rail cars. However, Hyundai Rotem also will be assembling these cars in the United States with home-grown parts and labor. After the steel shells are fabricated in Korea, they are being shipped to Hyundai’s assembly plant in Philadelphia for the rest of the work. They comply with Buy America rules, and most of the major components are built in America including the wheels and trucks, braking system, propulsion system, train control system, floors, seats, doors, windows, HVAC and others.”
Read more about the East Rail Line at the Denver Transit Partners.
It all comes down to the policy of whoever is building they hyperloop, but I think it needs to be innovative and be built on site.