Musk Debuts The “Boring Company”, Watch Tesla’s EVs Travel Underground – video

The Boring Company

APR 28 2017 BY JAY COLE 67

Elon Musk’s latest venture, The Boring Company, has released it first descriptive animated video of just what the company seeks to during a TED talk by the Tesla  CEO today in Vancouver…and it isn’t boring (apologies on the pun).

The company will apparently provide underground transportation solutions, complete with electric slot car transportation on skateboards for vehicles moving below the surface.

Heading down below in a Tesla Model S!

Of course the video features nothing but Tesla Model S and Model Xs everywhere, moving from the street level into the future of underground travel – and at speeds in excess of 120 mph of course.

As Musk noted from the conference, Westwood to LAX would take about “5-6 minutes”.

Travelling underground on an electric skateboard…fast!

Can such a project turn into reality? Or the norm? It very well could, but the red tape associated with such endeavors is substantial, so only time will tell.

Until then, enjoy the video!

Back to street level!

Categories: Tesla


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67 Comments on "Musk Debuts The “Boring Company”, Watch Tesla’s EVs Travel Underground – video"

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Forget about underground travel, this seems like it could be used to solve the parking problems at Tesla HQ – unlimited underground parking!

They still have to get Right of Way.

Brilliant! Never considered a sled/elevator system.

So many advantages to that!

The elevators would:

– largely eliminates public space (no on/off ramps needed / consultation and zoning / regulatory requirements.

– can help control the volume of cars entering the system

– easy to setup additional elevators to handle greater volumes.

– uses way less space, than a on/off ramps into the tunnel system, and can be done on private land. Don’t even need to locate it on the public streets as the video shows.

The sled would:

– be much safer, with merging/unmerging

– is completely electrically driven, so ICE cars using the system can turn off their engines, and save pollution

– speed can be much faster, and computer controlled for maximum efficiency.

Wow, loving it! For Elon Musk, there is no limit, not even the sky.

Or the ground beneath his feet.

We can not even afford a new lane of freeway but the world is suppose to come up with $500 billion for this?

Can someone share a link to the talk?

I really hope Tesla can build something like this in that it would be nice to replace a lot of our aging six lane expressways with new sixteen lane expressways deep underground.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s a lot of neighborhoods were bulldozed to make way for the above ground expressways. Now however a lot of expressways are overflowing in rivers of metal.

And it would be quite cool to move a lot of these urban freeways underground and triple their capacity too.

Think of how traffic would be a thing of the past if they could build a sixteen lane wide Interstate 95 though the core of Washington DC at 900 feet under Washington DC

Or if they could build a eight lane forty mile long ten lane wide freeway under US Route 1 in Northern Vriginia.

It would be so cool to move the thru traffic on a lot of major streets in my area to underground tunnels.

It is incredible. Being from the mid-west, when I saw the 16 lane rivers of light on the freeways. I was like, God I’m glad I don’t live here, and that was 30 years ago, it is probably much, much worse now.

Hardly !!

Just one of many things wrong with that vision – where would those 16 lanes of traffic park ? And what about the access roads ?

Better to triple Metro miles instead with 100+ miles of light rail.

Indeed, if realized this would be a mass transit system… which moves cars and not just people! Doesn’t make any sense if you step back and think about it. None at all!

But then, “The Boring Company” might well be just a big joke on the part of Elon from start to finish.


Of course you are right from the efficiency point of view. It makes no sense to carry around a car in a public transport system. Nonetheless carrying around your own car in such a system would remove some of the setbacks of the classic public transport systems.

Always have your stuff with you
Have a seat
Have a clean seat
No need to change trains, busses

IMO this looks like a hybrid between public transport and individual traffic.


I am pretty sure, that if implemented correctly a two way automated lane would suffice to replace 6 traditional lanes.

This is due to :
High speed merging
Low safety distance required
Close to full information about upcoming merging or breaking attempts

With implemented correctly I relate to having enough elevators to get the slides out of the way once they have reached their destination. This seems to be the limiting factor at a first glance.

Yes, requiring each car to have to wait on an individual elevator ride to enter or leave the system would be quite a bottleneck, which could only be solved (within the parameters shown in this plan) by installing massive numbers of car elevators up to the surface street level. The cost of that would be…

LUKE SKYWALKER: Well, more wealth than you can imagine!

–“Star Wars”

In my view, this plan is a “Cost is no object” fantasy. If I thought Elon was serious, I’d accuse him of being blinded by his vast wealth. But I don’t think he’s serious.

Why 16 wide, more sense to do 4×4. You can go down as far as you need.
Wouldn’t earthquake be an issue for California?

MARS may be more accessible.

Possibly you are correct, considering the best boring machine in the world, Big Bertha took two years to bore Seattle’s highway 99 replacement.

Can you dig it? I knew that you could.

+1 to the reference

When the car lowers underground, they are going to need safety rails, or some kind of barrier, around the hole in the street that is formed. Same thing when a hole opens up for the elevator to raise up.

I can see all the people obliviously texting on their phones plummeting to their deaths with these open holes. Yeah, they have to “idiot proof” the hell out of this.

Wait! HiTech Population Control?

“Think of it as evolution in action.” — Oath of Fealty by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

The cost of boring all the tunnels will be astronomical.

Well, Elon IS into Astrophysics!

Ironic hat and tee-shirt sales should gross at least a million ….


Roads, for the most part, are on the surface because they are the cheapest to install and maintain, even when you factor in the land costs.

Tunnels for things like light rail makes sense because of the high volume of traffic in the particular space and it’s more efficient. It would be annoying if you had to stop for each and every train in the Loop in Chicago for example.

This whole idea is just silly. Just look at the Big Dig and it’s ridiculous cost overruns. Sure it looks prettier to have everything submerged but it’s just not practical to have it everywhere, especially in earthquake zones.

So… it’s a car that drives your car… underground… I have to stomach that.

Sure, it’s like a car train 2.0 and it could even charge your car while riding it (I bet the monorail is electrified). But the “your car rides a car”-thing almost made me laugh.

Well sir, there’s nothing on earth like a genuine bona-fide electrified six-car monorail!

“…the ‘your car rides a car’-thing almost made me laugh.”

Indeed, I wonder if Elon is pulling our legs. Calling this concept “The Boring Company” certainly suggests he’s not being entirely serious.

Putting cars, which should be able to drive on their own in just a few years on another car? How stupid is this?

Why do the sleds need that track/guideline in the middle? No trust in their own autonomous tech? 😀

One the track they can charge too while waiting to get to destination.
Seeing this i suddenly realize how little imagination i have…

I guess the rail is for charging and having a separate car means you can’t control it yourself and cause accidents.

Nor run out of battery

Solves the ‘final mile’ issue of public transportation.

Well, if that “final mile” doesn’t include walking from wherever you park your car to your actual destination. That’s fine if you are leaving the city and going to a less densely populated area, where presumably you can park right at your destination. But if you’re going downtown/uptown, then you have to find a place to park your car, probably a high-rise parking garage, then walk to your destination.

If your destination is in the city, wouldn’t it be better to take a mass transit system to the bus/subway stop nearest your destination, then walk from there? No need to drag your car with you, or pay the parking fee!

I really hope Musk can design, or have someone design for him, a machine which can bore tunnels under cities and line them at the same time. That would be a stupendous savings in cost and time over the current “dig and fill” method, which requires digging a huge trench, installing in the tunnel, then filling in the trench. That of course also requires demolishing the buildings above it, which is one reason the expense is so enormous. But while I think it might be possible to dig tunnels for trafficways under densely populated cities, I think carrying cars around on sleds which work like a “giant slot car” system makes this concept overall less plausible than Hyperloop. This concept certainly gives a new meaning to “restricted access roadway”! Having access only by elevators carrying one car at a time would certainly keep the traffic density down — waaaaay down! The only thing this concept is missing is giant “VIP ONLY” signs at the entrances. In fact, this fantasy of endless perfect, pristine roads with plenty of traffic on them going everywhere — yet with no traffic congestion at any point — strongly reminds me of the 1939 World’s Fair… Read more »

I think I read that he discussed simultaneous digging and lining in his TED Talk today. We should see soon enough.

Your ideas about tunnelling are upside down.

Building and lining the tunnel at the same time already exists, it’s called a tunnel boring machine.
It’s slow, it’s very expensive, and it’s dangerous.
It’s the method tunnel builders use when they cannot use the much cheaper and faster “excavate and build” method.

In California, can we please put cars on an electric shuttle like this on a dedicated surface highway instead of the $70B+ high speed rail?

What a waste that train is! I still hope they scrap it.

No. That would cost $700B+ ;p

This have to be a joke, right? What a silly thing, especially in an earthquake zone! Digging tunnels is outrageously expensive and risky. How stable will LA be when the ground under it looks like a swiss cheese? There needs to be a lot of these tunnels to make any meaningful difference, that will cost more than one fortune for sure!

You are so right

Yup, it’s a joke, like landing rockets, which some people thought was impossible, and took 14 years and a billion dollars to pull off.

I would never bet against Elon.

Landing a large rocket on its tail to make it reusable has never been impossible; merely difficult. The economics of making large rockets reusable are quite compelling.

Contrariwise, this plan seems to be a “cost is no object” fantasy. At best, it would be restricted to a small-scale, very exclusive system used only by the very rich. Trying to scale this sort of thing up to where the average person could use it would be economically impossible.

Given this is a bit of a wild concept, lets look at the pros and not all the obvious cons…

This could reduce polution, reduce the number of cars om the road because they get on and off faster, being underground the roads may last way longer thus reducing long term costs,charge your car while you ride, and give people their time back. Its either this or VTOL airplanes.

“…being underground the roads may last way longer thus reducing long term costs…” Hmmm, are maintenance costs for subways less expensive than for surface railroads? Somehow I doubt that. Performing maintenance and repair in an underground tunnel, with all the associated physical restrictions and access difficulties, would surely drive up maintenance costs, not drive them down. The elephant in the room, as Alan Drake already pointed out, is where the heck would they park all those cars when they arrive at the destination?! The reason there are so few cars in downtown Washington D.C. isn’t because there aren’t enough roads to carry the traffic. It’s because there is literally no place to park when you get there! Using underground traffic tunnels to allow automobile traffic to bypass the traffic jams of surface streets in dense urban areas is a fine idea. But using those tunnels to carry even more cars into those areas, allowing them to exit to crowded surface streets and thus adding even more to the traffic density… that’s one of the worst ideas anyone ever had! There is a crying need for more efficient mass transit systems to carry people (not cars!) from point-to-point in dense urban… Read more »

“where the heck would they park all those cars when they arrive at the destination?!” Probably in a Parking Tower, or Rotisserie? Actually, where do all the cars park today?

Stop the video at 4s and look at the vehicle on the right.

Remember Tesla’s vision for a ride-sharing network.

Remember Tesla’s vision for small vans that would replace buses.

Also note the underground speed in the video.

This is “Hypoloop” and another piece in Elon Musk’s vision for transportation.

You said “Hypoloop”… were you referring to Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is at least theoretically feasible. In fact, there are already several companies working to make it practical. We already have elevated light rail systems; Hyperloop would be something similar, only much faster and long-distance; inter-city rather than intra-city. Hyperloop would be a mass transit system. It would not add to automobile traffic congestion; it would reduce it, replacing trips by car with travel by Hyperloop.

Contrariwise, this “Boring Company” proposal, by making it much easier and faster to reach densely populated areas by car, would greatly increase traffic congestion in those areas!

“You said “Hypoloop”… were you referring to Hyperloop?”

No. Hypo means beneath or below. As in hypodermic meaning beneath the skin.

This proposed system is technically feasible. It’s a question of cost. One of the key aims of The Boring Company will be to try to reduce costs.

I don’t think that this system could really increase traffic volume, because the lifts and “stations” would limit entry and exit volume. With the combination of tunnels and limited volume, it won’t be a cheap system. So, in order for it to be economically feasible for a large number of people it would require ride sharing. Ride sharing would lower traffic volume.

Got to be joking. Maybe it’s just guerrilla marketing to promote Tesla with free news coverage?

I can hardly imagine anything more impractical than this.

It is very practical. Imagine how many billions you can rise from sci-fi dreaming investors. Pure profit!

Elon Musk is beginning to convince me he is a world class con-man. Always something new & flashy to distract from the massive losses and small production volume at Telsa.

Can you pls go back home and play with your oily friends.

Well, if he never delivered on his pitches, you could be right! But, on schedule, or not, Elon always got the finished products out there! And, in about a decade in, still has no real competition in EV’s, Rocket’s, or any better tech, in a number of sub areas!

Alan Drake said:

“…the massive losses and small production volume at Telsa.”

Here, let me fix that for you:

…the massive losses investments in future growth and small rapidly increasing yearly production volume at Tesla.

Moving people underground…done that…called Subway.

That’s it! A Tesla / Subway Sandwich Tunneling Franchise spin off. First meeting, Elon meet Jared, or on second thought, maybe not.

How about a Tesla / Jersey Mikes Subs spin off. First meeting, Elon meet Chris, the now termed out Governor of New Jersey, you know him, he had those two aides, those guys that were sentenced for the “Bridge Gate” lane closure Scandal, on The George Washington Bridge!

Subway Sandwich, isn’t that something you eat?

I’ll say it…

This is stupid.

Seattle’s underground boring project, which used a similar machine, cost billions of dollars of taxpayer money, is running way late, will cost more than expected, and suffered major stalls due to technical difficulties. These kinds of projects are a perfect match for Elon Musk!

Cause they hit a vertical steel pipe.

Elon is going to find out, it’s nasty surprises like that, that cause really serious issues to boring through the ground.

Like hitting soft sand, like the Gotthard Base Tunnel project in Switzerland, which the boring machine was stuck for something like 6 months.

Big Bertha completed her dig!

The largest Earth pressure balance boring machine ever constructed and it still worked. Crazy.

The principles are well proven and understood. Now we just need a tech innovator to put it all together.

Four Electrics said:

“Seattle’s underground boring project, which used a similar machine, cost billions of dollars of taxpayer money, is running way late, will cost more than expected, and suffered major stalls due to technical difficulties.”

4E, what you cite only demonstrates the inadequacy of current tunnel boring machines, and that’s why I said that Elon needs to invent a new, improved type of tunnel boring machine.

Here’s another example of the inadequacy of current boring machines, from another tunneling project: “The tunnel was delayed when Beck [the Beck tunnel boring machine] encountered a bed of loose material, unsuitable for boring, that required a detour.” (citation below)

Digging tunnels relatively easily and relatively cheaply (as compared to how it’s done now) would require inventing a tunneling machine which can line the tunnel even as it digs. The boring machine would also need to be designed so that sections of the cutting head could be removed and replaced from the inside of the machine, to avoid the sorts of delays which “Big Bertha” encountered when its boring head was damaged when digging the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel in or near Seattle.