Elon Musk unveiled the latest plan for his Boring Company to create subterranean tunnels under LA to whisk passengers from downtown to LAX Airport terminals in 8 minutes.
Musk as Tesla’s CEO has taken lots of grief over the last two months, with the company taking financial losses in the botched rollout of its supposedly high-volume Model 3 sedan. After Tesla’s stock lost a third of its value, Musk announced a factory shut-down this week to restructure operations, claiming the robot that runs the factory died.
But Musk seemed to shine as a CEO late in the week in a public presentation at Bel Air’s beautiful Leo Baeck Temple when he unveiled plans for The Boring Company start-up that just achieved an environmental waiver to begin applying for construction permits to build the first link of a 39-mile network of Hyperloop tunnels under Los Angeles County.
Musk envisions about 10 passengers being propelled in an all-electric powered and magnetically levitated people pod called a “Loop. Traveling at speeds of up to 150-milles per hour, Musk estimated that customers can profitably be whisked from downtown Los Angeles to the LAX Airport in about 8 minutes for just $1.
Former SpaceX engineer and now Boring Co’s Los Angeles build-out project manager Steven Davis, provided the crowd with an update to the company’s Loop animated video, and then talked about Boring Co’s success in test drilling its first 2-mile tunnel that started under SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Davis promised that with pending regulatory approvals expected in the next couple of months, The Boring Company will begin offering free high-speed rides to the public. He added that the company also has the approvals in place from the State of Maryland to begin digging tunnels for a Loop commuter system that will serve as an alternative to driving along the highly congested Baltimore-Washington, D.C. corridor.
TechCrunch reported that Musk apologized for arriving about a half-hour late due to getting stuck in what he called the “soul-destroying traffic” of Los Angeles. With a bit of sarcasm, Musk described how the company’s adopted “Gary” the snail as its mascot.
Both Musk and Davis believe that Loop’s parking-spot sized loading platforms that lower to connect to Hyperloop underground tubes are much more viable for scale and speed, compared to traditional high-speed rail and subway systems that rely on a few large-scale stations deep-underground that connect to the surface through banks of escalators.
The comments were clearly aimed at the spiraling costs of the California High-Speed Rail build-out that over the last decade have officially more than doubled from $33 billion to $77.3 billion. The CHSR board approved a new budget on May 15 that warned for the first time that the “High-Case“ cost could spike to $98.1 billion, or $196 million per mile.
Musk just shrugged when asked about the lawsuits filed by neighborhood groups after the City of Los Angeles Public Works committee last month unanimously approved an exemption to fast-track a California Environmental Quality Act review of the first 2.7-mile Loop “proof of concept” section to be built under Sepulveda Boulevard between West L.A. and Culver City under private property and privately funds.
Coming up with wildly disruptive technological innovations and getting investors to pony-up big bucks is Elon Musk’s premier strength as a CEO. The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission disclosed that The Boring Company on April 6th closed on a $112.52 million private equity sale.