Musk Posts Video Of Boring Company Testing Car Elevator


The car elevator will be used to transport vehicles into the underground tunnels for travel.

The Boring Company is moving forward with its plans to tunnel under cities and to allow cars to travel in these tunnels via a car elevator that transports the vehicles from above ground to below. Once below ground, the cars board sleds for movement within the tunnels.

Car Elevator Testing

Late last night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted this Tweet:

Musk’s Tweet On Car Elevator

The Instagram link offered by Musk leads you to the video of a Tesla Model S (naturally) using the elevator at the top of this post.

Approximately 3 weeks ago, we first learned of work being done on the car elevator. Now the elevator has sprung to life. Here’s video of the skeleton of the car elevator before it was fully funcitonal.

In the original Boring Company teaser video, Musk shows electric cars, and multi-passenger transport โ€œsledsโ€ heading down to the tunnels. No one is certain if this concept will make it that far, but regardless, tunneling is underway, and the elevators are being constructed.

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36 Comments on "Musk Posts Video Of Boring Company Testing Car Elevator"

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I get the tunnel and tube concept of this…the flow.

What I don’t get is how the system loads cars into the tunnel flow, and at any significant volume, without affecting the flow, hence bottleneck. I see traffic jams to get on the elevator???

But then, this could be why I’m not a billionaire…

I guess it would depend upon the percentage of drivers that need to go from A to B that that particular tube is providing. If it’s just 15%, then the wait may not be that long. Also there may be multiple entries/elevators onto the tube. So even though the tube has high flow, thee loading & unloading is spread out.

Sure, the video demo for The Boring Co. concept shows multiple single-car elevators in a row, like a row of parking places on a busy street. The problem there is that all those elevators would have to replace parking places in busy city centers… which already have a problem with too few parking places! I mean, seriously, this is facepalm-stupid. It’s not even a half-baked idea. It truly astounds me that Elon is continuing to publicly promote the concept. If he wants to pursue his mad ultra-rich man’s fantasy of having a private traffic tunnel for use by him and perhaps a few of his VIP friends, then of course he’s free to waste his money on whatever eccentric hobby or useless pursuit he wants. But why try to persuade the general public that there is any merit to such a galactically impractical plan? I appreciate Elon’s vision in most of his endeavours, especially Tesla Inc. and SpaceX. I even appreciate his promotion of the idea of putting a colony on Mars, not because I think there’s a chance in hell of it happening in his (or my) lifetime, but because we need people promoting the idea as early as… Read more »

Yeah, particularly with autonomous vehicles and just making normal tunnels to drive through, rather than stop and take an elevator, makes more sense.

I have not been able to figure out the advantages of this system, either.

You keep thinking this is for normal people and that it has something to do with the current road structure. It is neither. It’s the Concord or freeways. Something wealthy people are willing to pay to cut time off a trip and reduce their own pain of traffic etc. Imagine one outlet of this thing is in Stamford, CT and one of the outlets is in Manhattan and it pops up at a parking garage. How much would that wall street banker pay to bypass all that coming into the city. You enter on the outside of the city, and pop up 5 minutes later to have it valet park itself. You do business and leave the same way you came. There are people that would pay a lot of money for that convenience. It does not require integration with our transportation grid other than in the same way cars integrate with airplanes at airports. These ‘airports’ would be a lot like current light rail stations but completely distinct in that instead of building low cost transportation for the masses, you are building exclusivity and convenience for the wealthy.

it’ll be just like a highway merge lane.
Except the sleds won’t be stupid and try to merge into 70mph traffic at 40mph.

Yep. The sleds should be pretty smart about merging. Presumably they will be able to accelerate very quickly, but have to balance that with driver comfort.

Ol Musky just hasn’t revealed the second part of the equation yet: The half buried car Ferris wheel.

All depends on the time spent waiting vs. time saved in the tube. If a 15 min wait for the elevator saves you 30 minutes vs. traveling on the surface, its worth it. Depending on the toll rate of course.

Also i think the vision is to have many elevators feeding the system.

Pull onto elevator, elevator lowers, transfer car to sled elevator rises.

Rinse. Repeat.

I can’t imagine that taking more than 2 minutes. 30 cars per elevator per hour seems like plenty. If it’s not, add more elevators. Congestion won’t ever be a problem because the sleds will accelerate at the exact same rate, so theoretically you could “merge” a bunch cars at once into the tube.

Yup, this would be cool during rush hour, all those cars dropping underground onto sleds.
Hope the return trip for the sleds is fast else you’d run out of sleds quickly.
Believe it still makes more sense to build the Hyperloop rather than all this personal transportation sled business. Kinda think its all a ruse to distract people from what he’s actually building.

“Congestion wonโ€™t ever be a problem because the sleds will accelerate at the exact same rate, so theoretically you could ‘merge’ a bunch cars at once into the tube.” Congestion wouldn’t be a problem inside the system, because the elevators would restrict access. As I said earlier, this would give new meaning to the term “limited access highway”! Where congestion would be a problem, potentially a massive problem if a lot of people really try to use the system, would be all the cars waiting to get into an elevator. Just where are they going to wait? That’s a question which the concept video for The Boring Co. conveniently ignores. If access to the elevators is on public streets in busy city centers, as shown in the concept video, then those city streets would very quickly become clogged with cars waiting to get onto the elevators. And what of the cars coming off? If the surrounding streets are clogged with cars waiting to get on, where are they going to go? It is literally astounding to me that there has been so much time and effort already spent promoting and developing a concept which is so obviously unworkable; one for… Read more »

That and the large hole in the ground that looks like a problem without a gate system of some sort. Imagine if elevators in buildings didn’t have doors on each floor.

I’m wondering if there is a plan to keep the sleds distributed correctly. There could be a lot of empty sleds traveling to needed locations. After some time, the usage patterns could be identified.


No offense Elon, but that looks like the same load of tunnel tubing from the vid a couple or few weeks ago. If you need me to drive out there and start cracking the whip… just let me know.

Ha! He’s going to need a lot of LIFTS if they run at that speed. Or else not many cars… His choice.

I’m sure that police and ambulances will be the only users of the system since they’ll insist on being given priority – and there are enough of those 2 classes of vehicles to fully utilize his elevator.

It looks like they will be ready with this thing sooner than expected.

It’s not going to happen, it’s a stupid idea

It could work if it were people pods not cars. You don’t want more cars in the city at the end, the whole idea is to move people not cars.

Alaa said:

“It looks like they will be ready with this thing sooner than expected.”

It looks like they will be ready to demonstrate sooner than expected that you can use an elevator to take a car down to a very short tunnel leading nowhere.

How is this in any way a validation of the concept? We already have car elevators. We don’t need another one just to prove that you can use one to carry a car up and down from a street to a tunnel.

If Elon wants to waste his money on a mad fantasy, that’s his business. But it certainly doesn’t deserve the sort of attention it’s getting here on InsideEVs and elsewhere on the internet.

HAHA! The thing clanked alot when it got to the bottom.

Good trademark! “Good to the Last Drop!”.

I’m glad he got to that benchmark where the elevator can go down.

Now lets see how long it takes to lift the same car back up. Maybe in a month they’ll have that video.

The video shows a car loading onto an elevator, which then goes down. Fine, but not anything interesting or all that useful.

As other commenters have noted, the stuff that would make this either work or not has yet to be seen – logistics for loading and unloading the sleds in quantity, protocols for how sleds merge into and leave the tunnels, and above all, some idea for how all this stuff works together, and reasoning for why it wouldn’t have the same congestion problems surface roads face once traffic levels increase.

The sleds seem like a kludge for dealing with existing cars that aren’t smart/fast enough to traverse the tunnels themselves. If the cars had sufficient programming/speed, they could just drive through the tunnels and dispense with the sled. At that point, what you have is just a tunnel system and some kind of (as yet vaporware) protocol for dealing with traffic within the tunnels.

At the risk of appearing to be an apologist for this monumentally impractical and frankly stupid idea, the primary purpose of using the sleds is to carry the cars at a speed faster than most of them can drive themselves; 125 MPH. That’s part of Elon’s fantasy about commuting to work at high speed.

A speed of 125 MPH would certainly would improve throughput in the proposed small tunnels, altho with access restricted to elevators each of which carry only one car at a time into the tunnels, it’s hard to imagine there would ever be enough traffic for throughput inside the tunnels themselves to be a problem!

If they are actually serious about doing this, then it seems to me that designing the sleds would be a far more important (and difficult) step than creating a prototype elevator. Each sled would need to contain sufficient motors, batteries and running gear to deal with sustained 125mph operation. I also wonder how safe these would be if the car the sled is carrying isn’t secured in place.

This elevator video is a JOKE….

Seriously, in any populated city they’d have to go down 30 – 40 feet just to avoid the sewers.

In NYC a depth or 100 feet wouldn’t be considered excessive.

Going down a few feet and then having the thing clank doesn’t prove anything. And the ricketty structure of the thing won’t begin to pass any safety codes.

Looks to me like they just put a sled on top of a temporary construction lift.

Try again fellahs… Nothing to see here.

What are you saying, that this is fake? ๐Ÿ˜€

That mini-me elevator operated more smoothly.

I don’t hear any clanks. I hear a valve or maybe a switch and a brake. It sounded air assisted to me. I also don’t know where you get ‘rickety’ from. That thing looks pretty solid and quick. I do wonder how quick it is coming back up though.

looks like they have a motor underneath the platform geared to a small rack on each side.

Much more practical to counterweight something like this since there will be at least some kind of structure at the entrance.

But then, I’m not in California – so its someone else’s taxes and/or expense, not mine.

Just doesn’t look serious to me….. Most people for the past 100 years or so use a stationary ramp.

Perhaps Musk has never been in a storage building where you drive the truck up to the second floor, or in a parking lot where you drive up and down a circular ramp.

After all, if these things are for electric cars, there would be little polution having a car go up and down a ramp in a confined space. If they safely do it for ICE vehicles why not do it for BEV’s?


I wonder if Elon is so far removed from the concerns of us hoi palloi, the unwashed masses, that he fails to recognize the optics of doubling down on his “VIP elevator” concept. Is Elon really trying to give new meaning to the term “limited access highway”?

Let us for one moment try to envision what would happen if cities and States replaced superhighway on-ramps and off-ramps with elevators carrying only a single car at a time. Can you imagine the backups and the traffic jams that would cause? Yet this is exactly what Elon is proposing for his concept for underground traffic tunnels!

I think I read that Elon had posted (or tweeted) something about using on-ramps and off-ramps for The Boring Co. concept. I thought he had come to at least one of his senses regarding the monumentally impractical The Boring Co. concept, and had abandoned the ridiculous idea of using elevators for access in favor of much more practical on-ramps and off-ramps.

Apparently I was wrong. ๐Ÿ™

He could be using on/off ramps in the outskirts where more space is available and using the elevators downtown where space is much more at a premium.

Will the sleds be capable of Plaid acceleration?

car elevator (and tunnel) in hamburg, germany:

As Bill mentioned, going to have to go a lot further down than that. Agree with Pushmi, elevator on the street is unrealistic, just sit on any Street, tunnel entrance, anywhere, and count how many cars go past, and how fast. Elevator will never keep up with that. But an elevator that terminates in your building underground garage might be a viable proposition. The thing I don’t really understand is the need for sledges. I suppose Tesla might make this tunnel for any vehicle, but given Super Charger access, it doesn’t surprise me if it was only for Tesla, or a licence others would have to agree with. In that scenario you have a highly controlled environment, which even current Auto Pilot could navigate. Every single Tesla with AP should have no trouble navigating these tunnels, especially as they can mark the tunnels specifically for this application. Set the destination and the car drives you to that destination, can travel at high speed (given it is non congested traffic, even 70mph would be great compared to the traffic jams above you), there is no wind affecting the vehicle like you would get in the open, in fact they could have… Read more »

12 passenger cars under a building with escalators would be more practical.