Is There Any Way Elon Musk’s Boring Company Can Become A Reality?

DEC 29 2018 BY EVANNEX 88

TUNNEL VISION: CAN ELON MUSK’S ‘BORING’ PLAN SUCCEED?

Elon Musk is a doer. While most people see problems and complain about them, Elon sees a problem and starts a company to solve it. Everyone hates horrendous traffic – what if we could cruise smoothly underneath it? The Boring Company aims to make this practical via a two-part strategy: reducing the cost of boring tunnels; and developing an autonomous transport system to move cars through the tunnels.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: A Tesla Model X in Musk’s test tunnel (Image: Charged)

The company’s original vision involved an “electric skate” on which vehicles would be transported through the tunnel. It has now abandoned that idea, and developed “tracking wheels” that attach to a vehicle and allow it to ride on a pair of shelves along the sides of the tunnel. The Boring Company recently demonstrated the system in Los Angeles.

At the launch event, Musk said the tracking wheels could be added to a vehicle as an aftermarket product for “$200 to $300,” and could theoretically be installed on non-Tesla vehicles (although the vehicle needs to be an EV with autonomous capabilities, which makes a Tesla the only practical option at the moment).

Above: A closer look at the tracking wheels (Image: Charged)

Electrek was treated to a demonstration ride in a tracking wheel-equipped Model X. “While the wheels basically convert the Model X into a train, it was a surprisingly bumpy ride, which the company attributed to some experimentation with the shelves on each side of the tunnel,” writes Fred Lambert.

The company is also working on a next-generation boring machine, as well as several innovations to make tunneling simpler and cheaper. Musk said existing tunnel boring companies spend only about 10 minutes per hour actually boring – the rest of the time is spent installing tunnel reinforcements and dealing with dirt removal. He sees a potential 15x improvement in the speed of boring by designing a more efficient system.

Above: Elon Musk and Gayle King for for a test drive the new Boring Company tunnel (Youtube: CBS This Morning)

The Boring Company also has developed a way to compress the waste dirt into bricks that can be sold or given away and used to build structures – according to Musk, dirt removal can represent up to 15% of the total cost of a tunnel. Musk cited the pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt as examples of the possibilities, and the company demonstrated the technique by building a watchtower with bricks made from the dirt dug from the test tunnel.

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Written by: Charles Morris; This article originally appeared in Charged; Source: Electrek

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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88 Comments on "Is There Any Way Elon Musk’s Boring Company Can Become A Reality?"

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That “tracking wheels” are reminding me of something: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT21wuS8DuM (note which country and which year).
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spurbus (in German, also with projects in German speaking countries using that)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guided_bus (in English)

notting

Makes a lot more sense than tunneling

For those too lazy to click on notting’s link, here’s a close up pic of the German “tracking wheels” from the 1980s. Since the patent on these tracking/guide wheels must have expired by now, at least Tesla doesn’t have to pay someone to licence fee to use this idea for guiding cars in their tunnels.

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The tracking wheels are a reasonable idea and would work, but probably not something that will be sensible in the way it was shown at the demo. It’s worth exploring ideas like this, but I think the original skate concept was a better plan. I suspect they went with tracking wheels on cars for the demo because of (Musk’s self-imposed) time constraints which meant that they didn’t have time to build a working skate system. If think they will (should) stick with the skates longer term.

It would be perfectly fine in this context for the skates to have tracking wheels: the reason they’re a bad idea for individual cars is that it limits who can use the tunnels, and also because the rotating mechanism for hiding them when not in use is a major weakness and would be a point of failure, as these wheels will need to cope with very high speeds.

Paris métro MP 51 in 1951 comment image
Now also used in Montréal http://transphoto.ru/photo/08/84/83/884836.jpg

Abandoning the skates was a mistake. Vehicles will have flat tires and other mechanical problems congesting the tunnel.

You’re looking at the beta solution.
This is just a milestone. They have a tunnel complete, and you can drive something though it.
You wouldn’t see this milestone in any other public company.
There will be many more milestones till they get to the end solution, if there ever is an “end” solution.
Tesla has a high rate of innovation.

“You wouldn’t see this milestone in any other public company.”
Except the Faroe Islands already have made much better more useful tunnels, at comparable cost per usable mile, and with, wait for it, public money

https://www.maritime-executive.com/features/underwater-tunnels-revolutionize-the-faroes

Apparently reading comprehension not high here.
This isn’t the final design.
Don’t you know that?

I think it’s great Musk is experimenting with tunnels. But it was a mistake to unveil this half-baked joke. As you say, it’s nowhere near a final design. So what was the point?

Yes, another company would just show this to shareholders and the Board.

I wish Elon Musk had a digging machine that could dig out a two lane wide tunnel to build a eight lane wide sub level to the 405 and Interstate 5 freeways.

The current tunnel size could be marketed to a mail room delivery subway in London and under Chicago there was a large transit system that used two foot wide railroad gauge and seven foot tall tunnels for shipping stuff under downtown Chicago.

The problem to solve is to make the economics work. Dragging entire cars underground will not help in that regard as those are a large burden on the capacity of the infrastructure so those would have to be charged heavily. I could see the numbers add up more readily as a cheap to build sort of mini metro system that only moves people around.

Right. The way to relieve traffic congestion is to replace low-density passenger vehicles (such as individual cars) with frequently running high-density passenger vehicles — like subway trains. Trying to drag or push individual cars through tiny underground tunnels would not relieve traffic congestion in dense urban areas, such as downtown areas of cities; it would actually add to the congestion, once those cars exit the tunnels onto downtown streets!

The closer you look at this concept, the worse it looks.

Nothing is stopping Tesla from using passenger shuttles rather than people’s own cars though. The tracking wheels already point in that direction, I can’t see people fitting those on their vehicles in large numbers.

The reality of mass transit trains is that a single train every 15-30 minutes is a low capacity mode of transportation that will always be slower than personal vehicles and cost more per mile of infrastructure. Only if you get up to once-a-minute trains or so does it start to make sense but LA is not going to have once a minute trains in our life time.

A city like Tokyo has relatively low traffic not only because the trains are convenient, but because parking a car is mostly impossible, but the trade off is that a 20-mile trip on a train is fairly expensive there.

It’s not a simple problem. Looks like Musk’s goal here is to build underground roads, which is just as reasonable as overground roads, I suppose.

“…and cost more per mile of infrastructure.” I don’t think that’s the right yardstick. I think the right yardstick is measuring passenger miles traveled, not miles of road or railway or even tunnels. As far as the trains in Tokyo being expensive… well, that’s their problem. The subway in Washington, D.C. wasn’t particularly expensive when I relied on that as the primary form of travel. I don’t think they had stops spaced as closely as they should; it sometimes took me 15 minutes of walking to reach a subway station. Not sure what the tradeoff is, in building more stops vs. ticket price. But those who say subways and other mass transit systems should pay for themselves… I think they’re being rather myopic. The government should subsidize mass transit because, if it’s built in an appropriate fashion (i.e., using practical goals rather than political ones), then it’s a boon to the economy. “LA is not going to have once a minute trains in our life time.” Not if they’re built the way subways are built now. But if the Boring Co. really can reduce tunnel construction substantially, and with fully automated individually running subway cars instead of trains, then subways… Read more »

It would be cool to seem them bore all the way from NY to GB and from Alaska to Russia. So then we could drive around the world. If an invasion happened just blow it up with a nuke.

You would not need a nuke, just 2 sticks of dynomight!

I don’t think the skates are the answer. The Boring Company is building 14′ bores that become 12′ tunnels. That is almost two feet larger than the tunnel size of the older Underground lines in London. Forget the skates, lets build subway tunnels for cities! They would cost less per mile than an additional pair of lanes on a surface interstate! Yeah, the stations would cost more but you would be taking a huge amount of cars off the surface transportation network and putting the drivers into mass transit. But what I would really like to see is for the Boring Company to find a way to bulk Prufrock up to a 21′ bore diameter while only quintupling the cost per mile. That would give you a 19′ tunnel that is large enough to run Amtrak trains WITH their catenary system. Godot is boring 12′ tunnels/14′ original bores, supposedly for just $10Mn per mile. If they could bore a 19′ tunnel/21′ original bore diameter for $50Mn a mile it would really speed up Amtrak trains and it would cost a relatively tiny amount to do so by eliminating the curvy sections that slow the Acela/Regionals down. Yeah, I know, HyperLoop… Read more »

Didn’t edit it in time to say that neither skates or tracking wheels are part of what could make the Boring Company a going concern. The cheap tunneling is the important part, not the use of electric cars in the tunnel, with skates or tracking wheels. Build the cheap tunnels and then put regular, albeit slightly smaller, subway cars in them. Get drivers off the roads by making subways cheaper and more likely to have a stop near where you want to go.

Yes, you’ve got it right: More subways, not this Boring Co. fantasy of moving passenger cars thru tiny tunnels, is the solution to traffic congestion in large cities.

If the Boring Co. can figure out how to substantially reduce the cost and time for boring subway tunnels, then that will be a substantial boon to city living. But so far as I can see, that’s the only part of the Boring Co.’s plans worthy of the expenditure of time, money, and resources.

The difference is that the Boring tunnels can have multiple entrances and exits. The ‘cars’ will have alternate sizes, from 1-2 people to 20-30 people. Undoubtedly, the tunnels will be built in pairs, both for bidirectionally and repair/safety reasons. Multiple entrances/exits means one will be able to enter and leave closer to one’s start and finish locations. With smart ‘cars’, the density in the tunnels can be closer to maximal theoretical.

The entrances to the Boring Companies concept are one of the things about the concept that is weakest. The elevators are slow and failure prone. If you fall back on ramps, they will take up a lot of volume.
Traditional pedestrian stations for subway trains can be done using a moderate footprint and using relatively reliable escalators with an elevator for handicapped riders. Combine that with subway tunnels that cost less than 10% of the cost of a traditional subway line and you have a great system.

The revolution is that Godot can bore a tunnel for less than 10% of the price of a traditional tunneling company. Don’t let the skates/tracking wheels/vehicle elevators ruin an otherwise great development. I understand how great it would be to have your car when you get to your destination, but the slow moving vehicle elevators are going to be a huge bottleneck with tons of failure points that kludge up the system.

KISS.

Traditional subway stations are inefficient and expensive— something better can be done.

I have thought about subway stations having more, and faster, elevators and less platform to reduce cost but escalators don’t use that much space and elevators are expensive. I think more trains per hour helps reduce the need for larger platforms but that pretty much means that you need to have trains that are autonomous, because the driver is a huge part of the cost of traditional subways, especially if you go with more frequent service and shorter trains.
Patrick, what do you think would be a better way to improve subway stations? Not being critical, just curious.
I used to use subways to get to work because it was faster and parking was a bear in downtown DC. There is definitely a place for them in a modern city. And in an old city like Rome. London or Paris there is an even larger role to play due to narrower, older streets.

Turns out escalators also are very expensive to maintain, at least in SF they break down all the time and are used as public toilets by the homeless.

Then use more stairs and fewer escalators. Replacing escalators with elevators certainly isn’t the solution; escalators have much better throughput for the same volume of space, and are certainly far cheaper per passenger carried.

As for the sanitary problem… that reads to me like the problem is a lack of public toilets easily accessible by the homeless, which is an entirely separate issue.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Aside: Nette Toilette, started in Bremen(?) and now in some other German cities is an interesting way to do it. Not without issues, but an interesting approach, in which businesses are paid a stipend to make their restrooms open to the public.

The DC metro authority thought that escalators were expensive to maintain. Then they realized that the escalators that were out of the elements didn’t require the same amount of maintenance. So they built relatively inexpensive shelters over the escalators and they worked much better and maintenance cost a lot less. And the shelters look pretty good, by the way. Glass and steel.

Copenhagen Metro have small platforms, escalators and stairs, few elevators and autonomous trains that run every 2 minutes during peak hours:
“Copenhagen Metro with 30 tph with 3 cars only, actually moves 90 cars per hour in each direction. So, in terms of capacity, the Copenhagen Metro is roughly equivalent to a system with 8 cars and 12 tph (or a train every fifth minute)”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Metro

2 minute headway? I thought it had to be driver-less with that kind of frequency and it is.
Per your link they are AnsaldoBreda driverless EMU’s. They top out at 50 mph but for a subway that is acceptable. They are 9′ wide and 11′ tall. They use third rail, not catenary so they might, just barely, fit into a Boring Company tunnel. London Underground 2009 Stock are only 9’5″ tall and would be a better fit and are an existing design so there would be no design cost. The 2009 also tops out at 50 mph. They have Automatic Train Operation but they still use a driver.

I’m no engineer, but it looks like they have the right solution for a city of smaller size than a megacity. There’s no good reason to have huge underground waiting areas for subways; if you have that many people piling up down there, it’s because the trains aren’t running frequently enough. Run shorter trains more frequently — and yes, that does pretty much mandate autonomous trains with no driver — and the underground stations don’t need to be as big. Therefore, the stations should be less expensive to construct.

That’s a win-win-win for everybody except the train drivers’ union.

These boring tunnels could make it easier for large buildings to have their own personal subway station by having the tunnel run parallel to the basement of the building and then build a room to unload and load trains up.

I really hope Elon Musk works on building a 16 foot across digging machine compared to the 14 foot across digging machine as the new model of digging machine.

I agree. Larger is going to be more expensive to build and to operate, but it gives the tunnel so many more possibilities.
I want the Boring Company to start out making the easier, cheaper 14′ bores. And then to build new, larger boring machines with a larger diameter as the technology gets better. Just like SpaceX and Tesla, do what is most profitable and scientifically achievable first, then do the more difficult adaptations of the original tech.

Hmmm, I dunno, a Greyhound bus is only 8.5 ft. wide and 10.25′ high. Not sure why a subway tunnel would need to have a finished inside diameter (including liner) bigger than 12′ to be practical, so long as there are no tight curves.

Subways work well with a 12′ tunnel. So let Godot size tunnelers go to work building subway lines in cities all over the US. Cut the cost of tunneling and subways look a LOT better and they will get a ton of people out of their cars and into mass transit.
My hope is that the Boring Company will build a bigger bore tunneling system to enable railroads/Amtrak lines to be dug underground in the curvier bits that slow them down so much. Amtrak in the NEC uses a catenary system for power, so they need a tunnel that is around 19′ tall, like the NY North River Tunnels. So Godot won’t get them where they need to be. Building a borer that cuts a 21′ bore for a 19′ tunnel is a much more expensive job than a 14′ bore/12′ tunnel. So it may not happen any time soon.

“Traditional subway stations are inefficient and expensive— something better can be done.”

I used the Washington D.C. subways when we were there for an extended visit. I don’t recall those stations being “inefficient” from the standpoint of a passenger using the system.

It’s hard for me to imagine anything which would work better. You want to be able to move a high volume of passengers onto and off the subway trains as quickly as possible, which means you need a large passenger waiting area right next to where the trains stop.

“Godot can bore a tunnel for less than 10% of the price of a traditional tunneling company.”

This is FAR from proven.

I agree with that, but it doesn’t mean that the Boring Company hasn’t reduced the cost per mile of tunneling. the real question is, how much have they reduce it. And I think we will have a hard time finding out.

Did a little research and a superficial look at the numbers is astounding. Musk claims that he built a 1.14 mile of tunnel for $10Mn. It isn’t completely finished with tracks, nor does it have a station at either end. And his word is not exactly gospel. But it gives us a number, say we double it for covering Musk exaggerations. $20Mn a mile.
Digging subways in NY with stations costs between $2.5Bn and $3.5Bn per mile.
Digging subways without stations in Europe costs $500MnUS per mile.
$20Mn per mile is double what Musk says Boring Company can do. And it is less than 5% what digging subway tunnels in Europe costs.
If Musk is even close to telling the truth, Godot is God’s gift to the American subway renaissance.

Here is a lead for a new job for Godot it turns out Michigan wants to build a 10 foot across tunnel for a oil pipe line under lake superior to avoid the oil line spilling into the lake due to old age. https://energynews.us/2017/12/01/midwest/straits-of-mackinac-tunnel-plan-brings-many-unanswered-questions/

Apparently the cost of the five to six mile long under lake tunnel will be 550 hundred million using old tech.

Let’s see if Elon Musk can build a 6 to 8 mile tunnel for 120 million.

The Boring Company home page has a link to a product they call a:
” Water Tunnel. Self explanatory, but it doesn’t need to be used for water. We bore the tunnel and you do what you want with it.”

https://www.boringcompany.com/products/

A Electro Meccanica “Solo” Could Drive in the Dip between, and below where the Model X Drives!

LA traffic is not foot traffic, it’s vehicular traffic. Trains are pointless to reduce congestion in a city like LA. The spacial planning does not fit New York/London/Paris/pick-a-city style mass transit. The solution must allow cars to enter and exit the system, else how can the residents use it. They live miles from anywhere and are disbursed, hence the traffic. Stop thinking like New Yorkers living in high density apartments.

LA traffic is not either or. If a subway system can be put in place at a decent price and it connects high traffic areas, a significant portion of LA commuters will use it. Which makes driving easier for the rest of the people in the area that can’t use a subway for various reasons.

Whichever is why modern city architecture needs to be imported to LA, look at Barcelona for example . The US always has some high tech and then neglects to develop it for a hundred years.

If a city is built so that the only practical way to get around is by driving a car, then that is what people will use. Offer people a usable alternative, and some will use it.

Probably a traditional subway system isn’t practical for low-density cities like L.A., but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some sort of automated “people pods” system, with pods much smaller than subway trains. I don’t know that it makes sense to try to dig an extensive tunnel system to move people pods; it may well be far more practical and affordable to put such a pod system on an elevated track or railway above existing streets and roads, like Chicago’s “El”.

Exactly, Delhi Metro is largely built on pillars located in between roads and the costs are a third of what you would expect of an underground system. Underground sections are done only in areas with heritage building or where it is not possible to build overground due to zoning restrictions.

Bangkok went to Skytrains built above ground too. Nice new system, though limited in scope.

Tunnel for cars was a bad idea.
Leave tunnels for subway systems.

I hope the Federal gov’t puts an end to this nonsense. Tunneling not done well leads to a disaster.

Indeed. Random sinkholes appear.

Eddie, thank you for your professional engineering input. It shows! >s Elon could surely use this.

A sinkhole would occur if you had a tunnel collapse. Do you realize how robust this tunnel structure is? An eggshell has amazing compression strength, due to its shape, and this is all done with an average of 0.35 mm of shell thickness, not a foot thick wall of high strength reinforced concrete.

@Steve, When drilling, the vibrational force is transmitted underground and it travels far like how solid matter transmits sound much better than air. The energy can loosen and weaken underground layers. Without the tunnel itself collapsing, sinkholes do appear.

Sinkholes are generally caused by underground erosion, water running underground, or depletion of ground water.

And not by some freak “action at a distance” incident such as you describe. Perhaps that has happened, but it can’t possibly be commonplace.

Erosion of surrounding environment from Constructional vibrations is well documented phenomenon.

THE SKY IS FALLING!

Or the ground is sinking or something like that you see in a disaster movie.

Neo-luddites and armchair engineers should give it a rest.

Just like EVs and private rockets, the market will decide.

Market won’t decide because the boring tunnel will not ever see the light of the market. LoL

Nope. The market does not decide city-wide transportation systems. City commissioners and urban planners decide those things.

It’s not up to the federal government. There is a founding principle called State’s Rights. If a particular state wants to put an end to this silliness, then fine, but the federal government should have nothing to do with it unless they are funding it.

“Tracking Wheels” ????
Oh yes, guided busways have been around for several decades. They are not that successful and most projects that I’m aware of went horribly over budget.
IMHO, this is a cop out.
The skate idea would open the tunnel to every vehicle and not just those who have shelled out for the wheels. BTW, they don’t do anything for the looks of the car. Would you want to put ‘training wheels’ on your $100K Model X?

I just don’t get the feeling that the project knows what it really wants or is capable of doing.
I think that they need to go back to first principles and re-examine what they really want to achieve.
Tunnels are expensive. Safe Tunnels are very expensive.
Boring the tunnel is the easy part. Fitting it out plus making entry/exit easy is the hard part. Everything is unique/custom whereas one tunnel lining section is very much like another one.

Forget about putting cars, or trains, or any of those type vehicles. They should make bike paths in the tunnels. They will need ventilation so people can breathe anyway, plus tunnels would get all the bikes off the roads and into this safer environment. How fast could you ride your bike down a tunnel when there is no other competing traffic? Make that an e-bike and speed/effort would allow pretty long commute as well.
Then all you need is a spiral ramp to ride the bike up/down, small foot print, nothing mechanical to break.

Bicycles? Or motorcycles?

Deleted

Hmm…well let’s take that just a slightly different direction. You are suggesting that bicycles are not well suited to streets/highways so they should use alternate routes. Agreed. Bicycle laws should have banned them from most roads decades ago. Our road system is very obsolete. Bike paths and bike lanes try to make alterations to this mess. But the point of ‘not everything should use the same road’ has played out in other ways. Railroads for instance used to be cargo and people. The people portion of that is pretty trivial all in all these days and rail is cargo only for the most part. Same with ships. Perhaps these smaller and more dynamic tunnels should not just be new subways with basically underground people trains. Maybe they do offer an alternate path. You say bicycles….presumably at least a bit in jest. Seems a bit spendy for that but hey. But didn’t Elon mention other ideas? Do all these tunnels need to be the same thing or can we rethink ‘big tunnel’ and it doesn’t have to be just one thing. How about (slight alteration on bikes) electric scooters only or special trains that are sorta custom made with cars specialized… Read more »

I’m reminded of a situation where some Asian city with a lot of scooter traffic tried to reduce street-level traffic by building elevated roads for scooters and motorcycles. They wound up hardly being used at all, so were a huge boondoggle.

As Jarrett Walker points out in his article “The Dangers of Elite Projection” (link below), a city-wide transportation system works for anyone only if it works for nearly everyone.

I’m not trying to denigrate the idea of bike paths; I think they are a great idea, and I’d love to see more of them. But a city-wide network of roads or tunnels just for bicycles and/or scooters and/or motorcycles, would cost an absurd amount of money in relation to the (almost nonexistent) impact those would have on the congestion of normal, automobile-carrying roads.

https://humantransit.org/2017/07/the-dangers-of-elite-projection.html

Part 2: Elon also proposed special purpose point to point type tunnels such as moving cargo. Basically metro level cargo rail for manufacturing. Whether it’s his factories or just general port traffic, if you can get rid of the truck/train traffic associated with this by putting it on skates that would be awesome. A shipping container just happens to be 8 ft wide and 8.5 ft high. Just offload those suckers onto single container electrically powered thing. Most are headed outside the metro area anyway. Just get them outside to a distribution center without using above ground transport at all.

The “skates” system is the ONLY way this tunnel can possibly work. A Tesla driving in that tunnel at 150mph would be impossible for more than a few minutes (the energy required to move through air at that speed in a confined space is much higher than on the open road). Plus, installing those tracking wheels on tens of thousands of Teslas introduces a mechanical point of failure that should only exist on hundreds of skates, which would be easier to maintain on a set schedule. Then there is another critical point about maintenance. Again, instead of having hundreds of skates to maintain, you introduce into a confined tunnel system tens of thousands of cars with various states of tire tread wear and battery charge. What if a car blows a tire in the tunnel or runs out of charge? Finally, this idiotic design of tracking wheels makes the original demonstration video impossible (where multiple paths merge together in the tunnel to allow for seamless entry and exit to different points in the city). That’s impossible with those tracking wheels unless you want drivers careening between cement posts at 150mph. They have really taken what was an amazing idea –… Read more »

Why not just use the incredibly inexpensive tunneling technology to build tunnels for electric subway cars? Toss the stupid, trendy skates and tracking wheels in the trash and build a system that actually works.
Boring a subway tunnel cost 50 to 60 times what Musk is claiming he has built this tunnel for. If a city that was otherwise considering building a subway found out that the tunneling was going to cost 1/50th or even 1/25th the amount that they had believed was the best possible result… They would be happy to do a deal with Boring Company.
KISS.

Nah, can’t do that. That would actually be a practical plan! 😉

While I agree that this “put tracking wheels on your BEV” concept ain’t gonna go anywhere, there’s no need to exaggerate. The original concept was track-guided EV sleds, or “skates”, running at 125 MPH, not 150 MPH.

Another advantage to using sleds would be that they could partially or fully enclose the car. In a TV news spot about this, the reporter was literally terrified at the tunnel wall whizzing past at a relatively low speed, because the tunnel is so cramped. If they are gonna move the sleds at 125 MPH, they’ll need to mostly or completely enclose the passengers inside something they can’t see through. Seems to me the best plan would be to put a window at the front and back, but leave the rest opaque to prevent passengers from seeing to the sides or above.

Not that I think the original concept is anything but wishful thinking on Elon’s part. But this half-baked demo, using a normal Tesla car with training wheels bolted on, is even worse!

For comparison sake, the link below has some pics of the new tunnels and platforms being built under Grand Central Station in NYC that will handle an additional 150,000 commuters per day.

https://nypost.com/2018/12/28/new-train-hub-slowly-takes-shape-beneath-grand-central/

From article: “Is There Any Way Elon Musk’s Boring Company Can Become A Reality?… CAN ELON MUSK’S ‘BORING’ PLAN SUCCEED?”
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Boring Company is a reality.

If Boring Company proves to be successful time will tell but seems Elon Musk has a good batting average for starting companies that prove out to develope into successful enterprises.

Boring Company has not been reluctant to dig, iterate, then dig some more. Seems part of Elon’s secret sauce for all his successful adventures is to not hesitate to hit the “start button” and not hesitate to iterate.

None of the other companies which Elon started, those successful ones, were given a joke name, nor treated as a joke. The Boring Co. was quite clearly started as something between a huge practical joke, a super-rich man’s fantasy, and a super-rich man indulging in a whim by turning it into a hobby. Perhaps Elon is now taking it more seriously than he did at first, but it’s still far from clear that it’s anything more than a whimsical hobby and/or a huge practical joke that Elon has gotten a lot of otherwise sensible people to buy into.

Elon didn’t sell novelty blowtorches made to look like flamethrowers, to advertise Zip2 or X.Com or PayPal or Tesla Motors or SpaceX.

Pushmi-Pullyu said: “None of the other companies which Elon started… [are] treated as a joke…”
—————-

Tesla: Farting Mode Easter Egg

SpaceX : Starman

Elon Musk’s joke/humor not exclusive to Boring Company… and certainly Boring Company is no joke:

“We have no idea what we’re doing—I want to be clear about that,” – Elon Musk

And it’s no secret Earth Boring Company is a front for the Mars Boring Company:

“ I do think getting good at digging tunnels could be really helpful for Mars. It would be a different optimization for a Mars boring machine versus an Earth boring machine, [but] there’s going to be a [need for a] lot of…mining in general to get raw materials [and water ice]. And then, along the way, building underground habitats where you could get radiation shielding… you could build an entire city underground if you wanted to.” -Elon Musk

“Boring Company is no joke”

If you really think so, then the joke’s on you. 😉

But seriously: Finding a way to dig sizable tunnels far cheaper and far faster isn’t a joke at all. But the rest of the Boring Co. concept certainly is.

I think the Boring Company will live or die not by this demo or the ideas shown here, but by the success of it’s Chicago project.

If Chicago is a success, then the company instantly gains a billion dollar valuation and will likely win more projects. If it fails, then the company will almost certainly sink without a trace.

But Chicago needs to be a traditional mass transit service, not a tunnel for electric cars. It will have passenger cars and stations, just like any other. It will certainly have some innovative technology and ideas that make it different, but it won’t be what Musk has demonstrated.

Which means that the demo and the concepts it showed were completely irrelevant. They will only have a chance to come to pass if the company can first get a normal transit system built.

Every company associated with building roads will be lobbying our “for sale Republican Politicians” against The Boring Company

@EVer said: “Every company associated with building roads will be lobbying our “for sale Republican Politicians” against The Boring Company””
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Since when are only Republican politicians for sale? Pay-to-Play has no political boundaries…. it’s the main currency of any bipartisan bill passed.

The first (battery) fire in that tunnels will claim a lot lives, as it seems, they do not care for escape tunnels or other safety measures. To get away you need to climb over the cars behind you…
Luckily not many will use such a system. Skates would have been so much better. The current system shows no innovation at all. Just a mix of ideas, that failed a long time ago.

Putting tracking wheels on a Model X is the logical first step toward creating skates and pods based on the Model X chassis.

No; bolting training wheels on a BEV passenger car, and driving that thru a tunnel, isn’t at all going to help figure out how to build a safe and practical system to relieve street-level traffic congestion by building lots of traffic tunnels, small or large.

This cobbled-together, less-than-half-baked demo is more like a carnival ride than a practical transportation system! And it’s about as impractical for everyday use, too.

“Is There Any Way Elon Musk’s Boring Company Can Become A Reality?”

Only on a small “demonstration” scale. Economically, it’s nothing more than a super-rich man’s fantasy which would be impossible to scale up to the size that Elon keeps talking about, with hundreds or thousands of small tunnels running everywhere.

It continues to amaze me that anyone would take this wishful thinking seriously. If anyone really needs a reality check, needs to have the economic barriers to what would be a very low-volume, very high-cost transportation system pointed out, just read this:

https://humantransit.org/2017/07/the-dangers-of-elite-projection.html

“Musk cited the pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt as examples of the possibilities…”

Hmmm, no. Some very early Egyptian pyramids were indeed built with compressed-earth bricks… and they have vanished, because that material doesn’t last for generations. The pyramids which have survived — and the Sphinx — are built of stone.

Something like this might be useful, traffic in some cities is horrible.

150 miles per hour on rubber tires with retracting side wheels keeping you from hitting the wall with cars 2 seconds apart. What could go wrong?