Elon Musk has unveiled a prototype of his solution to Los Angeles’ traffic problems: a 1.6km-long tunnel that can transport electric cars at speeds of up to 240km/h.
The tunnel is the first tangible product of Musk’s Boring Company, which aims to build underground channels that can slot cars onto a track and treat them as items of cargo.
Musk gave a presentation of his concept to the press yesterday (18 December) using a $10m demonstration tunnel.
He said: "The profound breakthrough is very simple: it’s the ability to turn a normal car into a passively stable vehicle by adding the deployable tracking wheels, stabilising wheels, so that it can travel at high speed through a small tunnel."
This tracking wheel concept is a modification of the Musk’s original proposal to build electric pods or to fit cars with electric skates. Â
Cars would enter and exit the tunnels by way of elevator stations. To install these elevators, he said the company would drill a hole roughly the size of two parking spaces and install prefabricated lifts in sections.
The plan would complement the entrepreneur’s line in Tesla electric vehicles, but he emphasised that any electric car could use it.
Musk also floated the idea that the tunnels could be connected to the Hyperloop high-speed rail project Hyperloop, which he has suggested could be used to transport people between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than an hour.
Image: The Boring Company’s image of its tunnel