LOADING ...

Elon Musk Says ‘Hyperloop’ Tunnel Is Now Just a Normal Car Tunnel Because ‘This Is Simple and Just Works’

Aaron Gordon May 25, 2019. 24 comments

Back in 2017, Elon Musk had grand visions for the test track built by The Boring Company, his tunneling firm, in Los Angeles. The Boring Company’s tunneling work was closely linked to Musk’s Hyperloop idea, which would require hundreds of miles of tunneling to be viable, although the actual test track in California bore none of the traits of an air vacuum-based transportation system. It would have proprietary vehicles with varying capacities for private travel, public transport, or freight. They would travel along electrified skates for frictionless movement. It would be fast and efficient, but more importantly, it would be different, because he’s a genius.

Six months ago, the first demonstration of that track didn’t quite match that vision: it was a Tesla Model X on a sled going down a very bumpy tunnel at roughly 50 mph.

At the time, Musk said the bumpiness was only temporary: “That bumpiness will definitely not be there down the road—it will be smooth as glass.”

Credit where credit’s due: it does appear to be smooth as glass now, according to a video The Boring Company released of a car going 127 mph down the tunnel. How did it achieve such miraculous speed and comfort improvements in a mere six months?

They paved it.

Yes, for those keeping score, in a mere two years we’ve gone from a futuristic vision of electric skates zooming around a variety of vehicles in a network of underground tunnels to—and I cannot stress this enough—a very small, paved tunnel that can fit one (1) car.

The video’s marketing conceit is that the car in the tunnel beats a car trying to go the same distance on roads. You’ll never believe this, but the car that has a dedicated right of way wins. Congratulations to The Boring Company for proving dedicated rights of way are important for speedy transportation, something transportation planners figured out roughly two centuries ago. I’m afraid for how many tunnels they’ll have to dig before they likewise acknowledge the validity of induced demand.

Indeed, The Boring Company hasn’t just given up on the sleds in the test track. The company recently signed a $48.6 million contract with Las Vegas to build a short people-mover through their convention center. But, as Curbed’s Alissa Walker has been pointing out, that plan is also for the familiar technology of cars with rubber tires in tunnels on pavement.

Why did Musk give up on his sled dream? Why was the tunnel paved over? Here’s from the man himself:

To recap: Musk’s company spent two years developing a very narrow car tunnel. To anyone who ever believed Elon Musk’s bullshit: you’ve been had.

Update 7:31 p.m.: This story has been updated to clarify The Boring Company’s relationship to Hyperloops.

24 Comments

Other Aaron Gordon's posts

Ford's EV Charging Network Sounds Nice But It's No Tesla-KIller Ford's EV Charging Network Sounds Nice But It's No Tesla-KIller

Ford has promised to make many, many electric vehicles , but so far they have not made any. That is going to change soon—including with a “Mustang-inspired crossover” which I’m not sure anyone asked for but whatever—and Ford is getting ready for it by forming a bunch of “partnerships” over how their customers can charge said yet-to-exist EVs.As the...

Tax The Hell Out Of Frequent Flyers Tax The Hell Out Of Frequent Flyers

Flying, as I have written before , is one of the more vexing climate-related problems facing transportation. There are no good answers for cleaning up aviation except to fly a whole lot less, reversing the massive growth in the aviation industry over the last several decades that is projected to continue for several decades more. So, those who are...

Worst Case Scenario For Older Teslas Coming To Fruition As Some Won't Charge And Screen Stops Working: Report Worst Case Scenario For Older Teslas Coming To Fruition As Some Won't Charge And Screen Stops Working: Report

As evidenced by the army of bot-like social media accounts that yell at anyone who dare criticizes Elon Musk or Tesla, many people love their Teslas. But, the caveat there is most people love their new Teslas. The vast majority of Teslas on the road today are less than four years old. So we really don’t know how well...

GM And UAW Reach Tentative Agreement (Updating) GM And UAW Reach Tentative Agreement (Updating)

General Motors and United Auto Workers have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, CNBC reports, putting in motion a possible end to the strike that began one month ago to the day. The agreement still needs approval from the union council and ratification by union members.Details of the agreement are not immediately available, but we will update...

Suggested posts

Worst Case Scenario For Older Teslas Coming To Fruition As Some Won't Charge And Screen Stops Working: Report Worst Case Scenario For Older Teslas Coming To Fruition As Some Won't Charge And Screen Stops Working: Report

As evidenced by the army of bot-like social media accounts that yell at anyone who dare criticizes Elon Musk or Tesla, many people love their Teslas. But, the caveat there is most people love their new Teslas. The vast majority of Teslas on the road today are less than four years old. So we really don’t know how well...

Brain Genius Elon Musk Got Rolled By World's Most Obvious Grifter After 'Pedo Guy' Tweets: Report Brain Genius Elon Musk Got Rolled By World's Most Obvious Grifter After 'Pedo Guy' Tweets: Report

Folks, you hate to see it. These days, when you’re a billionaire electric car/private space travel magnate who accuses a random guy in Thailand of being a pedophile on Twitter , you can’t even blow $50,000 to hire a private investigator to try and prove that guy is actually a pedophile without finding out said private investigator is really...

Tesla Is Selling More Cars But Making Less Money Tesla Is Selling More Cars But Making Less Money

The Morning ShiftAll your daily car news in one convenient place. Isn't your time more important?   Tesla finds itself in a revenue quandary, a General Motors strike update, Ford tries to stem losses in India, more Brexit mess, and another guilty plea in the United Auto Workers leadership corruption scandal. All this and more in The Morning Shift for...

Porsche On Tesla Nürburgring Rivalry And Elon Musk: Thanks For The P.R. But Bring It On Porsche On Tesla Nürburgring Rivalry And Elon Musk: Thanks For The P.R. But Bring It On

I just drove the Porsche Taycan, and though I can’t give you a full review until later, I can say what the Porsche Taycan’s P.R. Manager told me at dinner about Tesla’s Nürburgring record attempts and Elon Musk’s Porsche Taycan-related tweets. As he pointed out, Tesla has helped Porsche more than it hurt it.By now you’re probably all aware...

The Nürburgring Is No Place For Elon Musk’s Bullshit The Nürburgring Is No Place For Elon Musk’s Bullshit

Let me start off by saying I like Tesla. I really do. I was seriously impressed when I first drove a Tesla Roadster over a decade ago. That impression stayed with me all the way through to when I took the first ever lap of a Tesla at the Nürburgring . Tesla makes good, fast cars that I enjoy....

Tesla Didn't Have Laguna Seca Officiate Its Alleged Record Model S Lap Time: Report Tesla Didn't Have Laguna Seca Officiate Its Alleged Record Model S Lap Time: Report

After making a bunch of noise on Twitter about taking the Tesla Model S to the German Nürburgring after the Porsche Taycan set a record there, Tesla instead claimed it set a record time for a sedan around Laguna Seca . The only problem is the track reportedly did not officiate it, so their time didn’t “officially” break any...

Elon Musk Claims Tesla Model S Sets New Record At Laguna Seca, Which Is Not The Nürburgring Elon Musk Claims Tesla Model S Sets New Record At Laguna Seca, Which Is Not The Nürburgring

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk accepted the implicit challenge of the recently revealed 2020 Porsche Taycan by promising to send a Tesla Model S to the infamous Nürburgring, implying an attempt to beat Porsche’s claimed record lap time. Musk now claims the Model S has set a record at Laguna Seca—likely a distraction from the fact that Tesla...

'There's No Such Thing As Cold, Hard Reality': Meet The Hyperloop's Truest Believers 'There's No Such Thing As Cold, Hard Reality': Meet The Hyperloop's Truest Believers

GOLDEN, Colo.—Shortly after arriving at the Global Hyperloop Conference, Brad Swartzwelter looked me in the eye and issued himself a challenge. “If I haven’t convinced you by the end of this conference that Hyperloop is the most glorious transportation opportunity of our time, then I’ve failed.”Swartzwelter, a stocky, middle-aged man with a graying goatee, tends to look at you slightly...

Elon Musk Says A Model S Is Doing The Nürburgring, Didn't Tell The Nürburgring Elon Musk Says A Model S Is Doing The Nürburgring, Didn't Tell The Nürburgring

Before Porsche had even shown the production Taycan to the public, it had a Nürburgring lap time . While we know well that the Taycan is not a direct competitor to Tesla’s Model S [or is it? ] it seems that Elon Musk isn’t exactly pleased that people are talking about the Taycan instead of Tesla. As he is...

Tesla Launches Insurance Plan In Another High-Risk Bet It's Smarter Than Everyone Else Tesla Launches Insurance Plan In Another High-Risk Bet It's Smarter Than Everyone Else

Tesla, much like its mercurial leader Elon Musk, has a philosophy: It is smarter and better than everyone else, including other companies that are much bigger and much older and much richer than Tesla. This is the spirit in which Tesla Insurance has come into existence.Announced today, Tesla owners in California can now sign up for an insurance plan...

Language