Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday that his aspiring underground transportation project will open its first test tunnel in December, in Hawthorne, Calif.
If successful, the tunnel would demonstrate the viability of Musk’s plans to build a new type of high-speed public transportation system whose station elevators could be built into a city’s existing infrastructure.
Musk, a space entrepreneur and electric-car pioneer, has pledged to complete the test tunnel by the end of the year. Through his tunnel-digging firm, the Boring Co., Musk envisions the construction of a zero-emissions underground transit system that transports people using high-speed electric sleds. A bank of elevators would take pedestrians, cyclists or cars from street-level stations to underground tunnel stops.
Musk said on Twitter that the Boring Co. will hold an opening event to showcase the test tunnel on the night of Dec. 10. The company will then offer free rides to the public the next day, he said, allowing passengers to travel as fast as 155 mph. The Hawthorne-based test tunnel begins at a SpaceX parking lot and continues underground for up to 2 miles, the Boring Co. said.
While the trial tunnel injects a dose of realism to his vision of a hyperfast underground system, key questions remain. It’s unclear how Musk will achieve the top speeds of 760 miles per hour he has touted for a hyperloop tunnel, and the mode of transport that will be used there.
Musk’s goal in designing an underground tunnel system is to “solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic,” the Boring Co. says on its website. By lowering the cost of building tunnels and providing a transit alternative to driving, the company would help alleviate city congestion and offer high-speed transportation options across the country. One of the proposed routes would take passengers from the District of Columbia to New York in under 30 minutes.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Hamza Shaban