The Boring Company has ditched its plans to build a test tunnel under Los Angeles, instead moving ahead with a far more ambitious proposal. Company founder Elon Musk stated on Thursday that the team is moving ahead with a “much larger tunnel network,” based on the company’s experience with its first test tunnel by the SpaceX campus.
Musk’s proclamation came after news broke of a community lawsuit, which resulted in The Boring Company claiming that it would no longer pursue its plan for a 2.7-mile test tunnel along Sepulveda Boulevard. The plan, unveiled in May 2017, would have connected Los Angeles International Airport to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks along the 405 freeway. Musk dismissed reports that the company had abandoned its plans, instead claiming the company “won’t need a second test tunnel.” Instead, the team plans to move ahead with a more ambitious network.
It is unclear how this project will look in reality. The Boring Company’s website lists four projects at the time of writing: the two-mile Hawthorne test tunnel, which started construction at the beginning of 2017 and will receive a full public unveiling on December 10, a “Dugout Loop” unveiled in August that will run from the Dodgers Stadium to the Los Angeles metro, a Chicago “loop” confirmed in June that will run between O’Hare Airport and Block 37 in downtown Chicago, and an East Coast Loop from Washington, D.C. to Maryland.
The Boring Company plans to use a series of Tesla-designed skates to transport one car or up to 16 passengers at speeds of up to 150 mph. This design could potentially support a “hyperloop” configuration at a future stage, a transit system outlined by Musk in a 2013 white paper that could move pods through a vacuum-sealed tunnel at speeds of up to 700 mph.
While whizzing across Los Angeles at up to 700 mph sounds exciting, it’s unlikely to run that fast. Delft Hyperloop, a Netherlands-based team working on their own pod design, told Inverse in July that the system would likely need around 44 miles to comfortably accelerate to its maximum speed. That makes hyperloop trips to Baltimore feasible, but cross-L.A. trips are likely to stick to more conventional speeds.
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