ELON MUSK OVERHAULS BORING COMPANY CONCEPT TO FOCUS ON MASS TRANSIT
By Jackie Wattles
Remember Elon Musk’s plan to dig a massive web of traffic-beating tunnels underneath Los Angeles?
The billionaire entrepreneur’s The Boring Company posted a concept video last year that showed cars entering tunnels on skates, where they hurtled 130 mph toward their destination.
Now, that plan appears to be getting a huge makeover.
Musk tweeted Friday to say that the tunnels Boring Company digs will not — at least at first — allow cars to travel through them. Instead, it will focus on providing mass transportation.
“It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first,” he wrote. So, the tunnels will “prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars.”
Musk also posted a new concept video that shows a large, van-sized pod, loaded with people, lowering into a tunnel from a station roughly the size of a parking spot. The pod then jets off toward Los Angeles’s LAX airport.
Describing the pod, Musk wrote, “I guess you could say it’s a 150 mph, underground, autonomous, electric bus that automatically switches between tunnels and lifts.”
The final Los Angeles transportation network, which Musk called an “urban loop system,” would include thousands of small stations around the city, he said in a tweet. The stations will “take you very close to your destination & blend seamlessly into the fabric of a city, rather than a small number of big stations like a subway,” he wrote.
Musk offered no timeline for actually constructing the proposed project.
The people-before-cars philosophy will apparently also apply to Boring Company’s plan to build an East Coast Hyperloop, which is a high-speed rail that can shuttle people long distances through a vacuum-sealed tube.
Related: All the quirky details you need to know about Elon Musk’s Boring company
Last July, Musk said in a tweet that he received “verbal [government] approval” for that project, though reporting from CNN found the company still needed a vast number of permits and approvals before construction could begin.
It’s unclear how the concept for the Hyperloop project would be affected by Musk’s change of plans for the urban loop system.
In fact, much about Boring Company is unclear. Major announcements about the company are scarce, and the few details that have been released typically come from Musk’s social media accounts.
The company did purchase a tunnel-boring machine. It tore through the earth under a plot of land owned by Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, in the LA suburb of Hawthorne. Musk occasionally posted Instagram photos of its progress last year.
Boring Company is not, however, a priority for Musk, who also runs the electric car maker Tesla.
“It’s maybe 2% or 3%” of my time, Musk said last April. “This is basically interns and people doing it part time.”
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