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Elon Musk teases Tesla Model S in his tunnel under LA

As we reported last week, Elon Musk’s Boring Company received a green light from the city of Hawthorne to build a 2-mile long tunnel.

Now the CEO teases Tesla’s all-electric Model S in the tunnel – giving us a glimpse of what his vision of a network of tunnels alleviating traffic in cities could look like.

The Boring Company already dug the entry of the tunnel and a first 160-ft phase underneath SpaceX’s parking lot in Hawthorne, but the second phase would link the first phase to a new 2- mile (3.2 km) long tunnel under 120th street all the way to Hawthorne Boulevard.

While the tunnel boring startup has been mostly linked to Musk’s SpaceX, it is also linked to Musk’s other company, Tesla.

As we recently reported, Boring Company will use Tesla’s technology for its transportation system in the tunnel – a sort of electric skate platform to transport cars autonomously in the tunnel.

That electric skate platform is essential to their strategy since it will enable them to dig a tunnel just big enough to fit one car, which becomes clear with the picture Musk posted to his Instagram last night:

They claim that they can achieve a significant cost reduction by reducing the diameter – something they think will be possible by stabilizing the vehicles on electric sleds.

If the vehicle is locked on a rail instead of swerving between two lines, the tunnel’s diameter can be much smaller. Musk estimates that reducing the diameter alone will alone reduce tunneling costs by 3-4 times.

Brett Horton, Senior Director of Facilities and Construction for both SpaceX and Boring Company, described the electric sled as “a Tesla Model S drivetrain, but with a platform instead of a cabin on top.”

So if a Model S sits on top of it, you end up with a Model S drivetrain powering a Model S…


Those electric sleds could be traveling at up to 200 mph (324 km/h), according to Musk.

But the engineer is also flirting with the idea of reducing the pressure in the tunnels for long distance travel in order to achieve greater speeds – virtually creating an underground hyperloop.

SpaceX held its second Hyperloop Pod Competition last weekend and WARR team achieved a speed of 201 mph (324 km/h) in 0.8 mile in SpaceX’s 1-mile long near vacuum tube:

Musk believes that they could even reach 800 mph (~1,300 km/h) in a full-scale system.  The CEO says that the company is already working on one of those underground hyperloops between New York and Washington DC.

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