Photo: The Boring Company
The Boring Company's tunnels are the future of transportation and while some people don't think so, those who have had the opportunity to try them are sure of it. Skeptical, West Coast Editor of Autoweek, Mark Vaughn, went downstairs to figure out for himself what The Boring Co tunnels are all about—and whether they are as important as Elon Musk says.
Vaughn admits that he was a little skeptical before using the tunnel. He suggested that there would be long lines and too few cars, so it would be faster and easier to simply walk from the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) to the far South Hall. However, after the “critic” descended the escalator into the underground tunnels he was a little surprised to find that the wait was only about a minute. Vaughn said he just walked up to the Tesla Model X, greeted the human driver, and immediately after the door closed, they drove away.
The tunnel through which the car was moving had a smooth asphalt surface without curbs. The driver drove through a slightly winding tunnel illuminated by bright blue, green, and red lights at a speed that was limited at 40 mph. Vaughn, who attended the LVCC because of the SEMA (Special Equipment Exhibition in the Automotive Industry), made several trips. According to his conclusion, they all were “serene.”
Las Vegas had two tunnels, one for going in one direction and one for going in the opposite direction. There were three stops in the Las Vegas system, one in the middle and a stop at either end. If you entered at the middle station facing one way and wanted to go the other way, there was an easy and simple turnaround the driver would take and then whisk you to your destination, Vaughn said.
He recalled that at previous SEMA and CES, people moved around the convention center in electric golf carts on the surface. It was convenient enough, but not effective. In fact, the tunnels turned out to be faster and more efficient. People can move farther and in less time, and nothing ever gets in their way.
The Vegas loop will eventually be 29 miles long with 51 stations and a capacity of 57,000 passengers per hour. It will also be financed without any taxpayer money, being funded instead by The Boring Company for the tunnel portions and by the individual resorts for the stations.
So are the Boring Co tunnels the future of transportation? Vaughn concludes that the tunnels will serve well the needs in densely populated urban areas such as Las Vegas. At this time, there are also no known reasons that would prevent such a system from being extended over longer distances and meeting the needs of residents of large cities such as Los Angeles.
“You don’t have to stop at every station along the way,” assured Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “You can get in the car here and you can go straight to where you want to go without stopping. There aren’t traffic lights, there aren’t stop signs, there are not stations you have to stop at along the way. So it makes the trip really convenient and really quick and will allow our guests and our visitors to experience everything Vegas has in a really fun and efficient way.”
After several trips in the tunnel, Vaughn is confident that this is a more convenient and faster way of getting around, even than the subway. “By just getting into a car and going wherever I wanted, this was more convenient and faster than a subway, where you have to wait for a train. It was like riding in a taxi but with no traffic or stop lights to slow me down. With enough Model Xs in enough tunnels, there'd be no waiting,” he said.
© 2021, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.