The Boring Company, Elon Musk's tunnel-digging venture, has taken on a new electric vehicle.
During a Wednesday episode of Jay Leno's Garage on CNBC, Musk and Leno toured the streets of Los Angeles in the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck. Leno, driving the truck, pulled up to The Boring Company's test tunnel next to the SpaceX headquarters' parking garage. This 1.14-mile tunnel, unveiled in December 2018, is a glimpse of Musk's idea for expanding infrastructure – a small tunnel designed to support electric, autonomous vehicles moving at speed.
"This is the first time the Cybertruck has ever been inside a Boring Company tunnel," Musk said.
Fortunately for Musk, who watched as Leno edged the massive truck through the 14-foot-wide opening, the Tesla Cybertruck completed the on-camera challenge successfully. At the other end, Leno edged the truck onto a car elevator and returned to the surface.
"How crazy is this?" Musk asked as the truck resurfaced.
Watch the truck's complete appearance, where Musk also outlines some of the vehicle's other features, below:
The tunnel is designed to demonstrate The Boring Company's vision, which first came to light after Musk complained about Los Angeles traffic at the end of 2016. The goal is to build cheaper tunnels at speed. It does this through advancements in tunnel-digging technology, like making the machine work all the time instead of taking breaks. It also builds smaller tunnels, and depends on electric and autonomous vehicles to move through the passages at speed without producing emissions.
Its first test tunnel was unveiled in December 2018, showing a Tesla Model X moving through a tunnel with a track and using guide wheels to remain stable. Musk claimed at the press conference that the wheels could be attached to third-party vehicles.
In Leno's footage, however, the tunnel appears to have been paved. Electrek noted the change back in June 2019, when Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson shared footage of a Tesla Model 3 moving through the tunnel at 116 mph – although the semi-autonomous Autopilot system, designed to move the car through with the press of a button, is currently limited to 90 mph. Musk previously declared his aim to reach speeds of up to 150 mph.
On the cost front, The Boring Company's results so far have shown promise. The SpaceX-adjacent tunnel was built for what the firm claims was around $10 million, around 10 times less per mile than similar projects. However, experts speaking to The Verge in June 2018 doubted those figures would hold up once other costs were factored in. Urbanist Yonah Freemark described the price as "remarkably low."
The Boring Company's first test will be a tunnel in Las Vegas. The project is designed to connect two ends of the Las Vegas Convention Center over nearly a mile. Digging finished this month, and the project is aiming to finish in time for the Consumer Electronics Show at the start of 2021.
The Inverse analysis – From The Boring Company's perspective, it's a good sign that Leno managed to move the Cybertruck through the tunnel manually. The truck is a hefty beast: at its November 2019 unveiling, Tesla claimed the truck measures 79.8 inches wide, 75 inches tall and 231.7 inches long, with 16 inches of ground clearance at its maximum.
Indeed, during the video Musk said he wanted to make the truck around five percent smaller. Unfortunately, after a preview clip was released, Musk explained that making the truck smaller was unlikely ahead of its late 2021 launch.
At least when the Las Vegas tunnel opens, it'll be able to handle Tesla's upcoming giant machine.