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Boring Co promises $1 pod rides in LA tunnel

by Justin King

The company has repurposed a Model 3 motor and battery to drive a locomotive.

The Boring Company has outlined more details of its proposed tunnel system beneath the streets of Los Angeles.

The startup's central aim is to slash the costs and speed of boring beneath the ground, creating a network of relatively small diameter tunnels that host transportation 'pods.' Passenger pods with room for 16 riders will coexist among sleds that ferry privately owned vehicles through the same space, though the pedestrian/cyclist pods will be given top priority.

The cost of riding in Boring Co's pods has been set at just $1, highlighting the clear competition with traditional mass transit such as bus and subway. During the testing phase, citizens will be able to take a demonstration ride for free.

Boring Co has talked about two different types of tunnels, one at atmospheric pressure and another 'hyperloop' with vacuum tubes. The company has clarified that its Los Angeles project will start with the former, enabling speeds of up to 150 mph for an eight-minute cruise between downtown and LAX.

Elon Musk and Boring Co's Steve Davis suggest the system would have hundreds of connection points, routing passengers directly to certain blocks or a specific airport terminal. In the extreme, the executives say an access elevator could be put in every driveway.

Hyperloop tubes will be geared for long-distance travel, launching at 700 mph for a 30-minute haul from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Passengers would be carried in 16-seat pods, like the urban system but pressurized within the cabin.

Engineers have already built an all-electric locomotive, repurposing a Model 3 motor and battery system to remove muck from the tunnels while the boring machine carves through rock and soil. The electric muck hauler is said to be capable of removing a quarter-million pounds of material per load.

Perhaps taking a lesson from Tesla's struggles with sensational media coverage, Boring Co appears to be more aggressive in reaching out to the public in a call to arms against "soul-destroying traffic." The strategy may serve a dual purpose in discouraging resistance from elected officials involved in the permitting process, some of whom have already laughed off the idea as a pipe dream.

The presentation was very specific in its "being a good neighbor" pledge, promising to avoid tunneling beneath homes or businesses. Nothing will be audible or felt from the surface and trucks hauling spoils will be restricted overnight and during traffic rush hours.

But The Boring Company is right behind you at 1/15th your speed & soon will be 1/10th! Start sweating ...

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 18, 2018