Elon Musk shared a curious video on Wednesday of a Tesla Model S creeping onto a platform that slowly drops beneath the surface, a prototype of a sort of “car elevator” he envisions for the Boring Company, a rather wild idea come to life: Its aim is to construct a 3D network of subterranean tunnels that Musk hopes turns into a transportation alternative to the freeway traffic jam.
We’ve spliced together Musk’s Instagram video and a conceptual film he debuted at the TED 2017 conference about the Boring Company to show how this project is coming to life. Just a few weeks ago, Musk showed off the skeleton of the elevator, which along with a test tunnel, is being dug beneath SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, outside Los Angeles.
Here are the two side-by-side. We’ve tried to sync them up:
It has been a busy few weeks for the company that Musk says takes up only a very small percentage of his time. Last week, he announced on Twitter that he had received “verbal government approval” for the Boring Company to build a hyperloop from New York City to Philadelphia to Baltimore to Washington, D.C. (Presumably the hyperloop could be underground since the Boring Company is overseeing it, although it wasn’t made clear). At any rate, Musk declared: “NY-DC in 29 minutes.” He didn’t offer any details on who in the government gave him this approval, but did say he was “optimistic that [formal approval] would occur rapidly.”
The boring machine of the Boring Company, cheekily named Godot, is digging a test tunnel beneath SpaceX at a snail’s pace. The idea has come a long way since Musk told college students in January 2016, “tunnels are great. It’s just a hole in the ground.”
In each tunnel, cars would travel on electricity-powered “skates” that would propel them forward at high speeds. Other skates would have pods in which people could travel. These would be built along with evaporated hyperloop tubes through which those pods would travel. Also unclear is how all of these tunnels would be powered, but with Musk, you can bet he’s thinking about solar panels.
In Elon’s world, as much will be going on underground as above it.
Here’s the full Boring Company video:
Here’s Musk’s Instagram post: