Break out the acai berry juiceÂ â€” there’s another futuristic transportation vision emerging from the fevered mind of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
During a TED talk in Vancouver on Friday, Musk teased an image of his company’s upcoming electric big rig. The vehicle, scheduled for a September reveal, isn’t the only truck bound for Tesla showroomsÂ â€” the automaker expects to debut a pickup in the next 18 to 24 months.
While we’ve known about the impending semi truck for some time, Musk also choose Friday to drop a video showing what he feels is the Next Big Thing in efficient transportation: underground electric sleds for your car.
If you’re the type who doesn’t follow the latest Tesla/Musk news with breathless anticipation, you’ve probably never heard of The Boring Company. No, not Hewlett-Packard. The Boring Company is Musk’s latest venture, designed to bring about an underground solution to above-ground gridlock.
The company, which is already testing a tunnel boring machine at Musk’s SpaceX headquarters, wants cars to drive onto elevator platforms disguised as roadside parking spots, after which the vehicle and platform is lowered into a tunnel. The Tron-like platformÂ â€” basically a wheeled, electrically powered sledÂ â€” then transports the vehicle via an automated underground highway at speeds reaching 124 miles per hour.
During his talk, Musk claimed the system could get drivers from the Los Angeles suburb of Westwood to LAX in five or six minutes. As you might expect, there’s no shortages of challenges to this vision. Cost tops the list. As Boston will tell you, tunneling doesn’t come cheap, though Musk claims The Boring Company’s boring machine could chew through a mile of California dirt every week, making construction speed less of an issue.
Besides the financial feasibility, there’s also the matter of regulatory approval.
While The Boring Company will have its hands full working out those wrinkles, there’s no shortage of work waiting for Musk back at Tesla. Besides bringing the Electric Semi to fruition (and finding a market for it), the company expects to begin production of its affordable Model 3 sedan this summer. Timeliness is crucial, but so is build quality.
TheÂ issues that plagued both the Model S and X should have everyone in Fremont on their toes, as there won’t be much cash available for fancy dreams if the Model 3 leaves the oven half baked.[Image: The Boring Company/YouTube; Tesla, Inc]