Last week, the Las Vegas authorities allowed Elon Musk to significantly expand the tunnel system called the Vegas Loop, which began operating in the summer. Now the total length of the tunnels through which Tesla electric vehicles transport passengers in shuttle mode is only 4 km and has six stations. In the near future, the system will stretch for 42 km and will include 51 stations.
The work within the Vegas Loop project is carried out by Elon Musk’s Boring Company. The name uses a play on words and the humor peculiar to Elon Musk – boring means both “to drill, drill” and “to be annoying, boring” – therefore the name of the company can be translated both as “Drilling Company” and as “Boring Company”.
Back in 2016, Elon Musk said: “Traffic on the roads just pisses me off. I’m going to build a drilling machine and just start digging. “
The Boring Company began digging its first tunnel in California in 2017, in a Los Angeles suburb called Hawthorne. In June 2018, a 1.8 km long single-track autotunnel equipped with LED lighting received approval from local regulators and began operating in demo mode in December 2018. Elon Musk personally tested the first tunnel with reporters.
The idea of the project is to move underground in an electric car along a single-track tunnel, bypassing other drivers, oncoming traffic, traffic jams, intersections and traffic lights. Initially, Elon Musk planned to equip the tunnels with an electric vehicle exit system from the surface, but so far such a system remains in the project.
To use the underground shuttle, a passenger must independently go down to the underground station and get into a Tesla electric car, the driver of which will take him to the next station at a speed of 30-50 km / h.
By June 2019, Boring Company has improved the California tunnel with an orientation system for unmanned driving and road surfaces that can safely reach speeds in excess of 100 km / h.
In the spring of 2019, the management of the Las Vegas Exhibition Center, which is located in the neighboring state of California, Nevada, decided to experimentally test the Elon Musk Tunnel to transport visitors to exhibitions. As part of a $ 49 million contract, the Boring Company was supposed to commission two tunnels and six stations in 2021, which it did.
Since June, two tunnels with a total length of about 4 km began to serve visitors to the Las Vegas Exhibition Center – a visitor can go underground, get into a Tesla with a driver and get to the exhibition center in a few minutes. It is understood that in the future, Tesla cars will carry passengers in an unmanned mode.
Issued this week solution The Las Vegas authorities for a significant expansion of the project implies that already six months after the start of construction, the Vegas Loop will increase by 5-10 stations. Subsequently, according to the president of the Boring Company, Steve Davis, 15-20 new stations will be built each year – until the system reaches the target level – 51 stations and 42 km in length.
In an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, Mr. Davis said that in its final form, the Vegas Loop system will carry 57,000 people per hour.
The developers believe that an important detail of the new system is that cars will not stop at every station, as is the case with subway trains or shuttles. Thus, the passenger can cross the entire city underground without stopping.
“If you stop at every stop, the journey can take a very long time,” says Boring Company President. … Then you drive straight to your destination without stopping, which can really solve many of the problems with getting around the city. ”
The authors of the project claim that not only rich people will be able to use it.
“It’s a very affordable and very convenient way of getting around,” says Mr. Davis. “And it’s not just a means of transport for the rich.”
The cost depends on the length of the route: so a 5 km trip will take 4 minutes and cost $ 6. The maximum cost of the trip, at least for now, is estimated at $ 20.
Boring Company separately emphasizes that the construction of the Vegas Loop system will be financed only from private sources – the company itself and its lenders. No budgetary funds will be allocated for this project.
Moreover, the company will pay royalties to the city treasury from the use of the 50-year franchise. With a quarterly revenue of up to $ 17.5 million, it will give 0.5% of it to the budget. If the revenue turns out to be higher, the city will receive 0.5% of the $ 17.5 million and another 5% of the surplus amount.