In Brief

Elon Musk: The Boring Company opens tunnel below SpaceX in bid to ease LA gridlock

Tesla co-founder planning network of underground transit routes for electric cars

Elon Musk has unveiled a transit tunnel underneath Los Angeles that marks the first step in his plan to ease traffic in congested cities. 

Drilled by Musk’s The Boring Company, the tunnel connects the headquarters of his space exploration firm SpaceX, in the small LA town of Hawthorne, to a “nondescript building” 1.14 miles away that is notable only “because of all the security surrounding it”, says TechCrunch

Guests at the grand unveiling on Tuesday night were driven through the 12ft-wide passage in an all-electric Model X SUV produced by Musk’s other major business Tesla, the tech news site says. 

The car had been lowered down to the tunnel entrance on a metal plate ahead of the demonstration rides, reports The Sunday Times. Although the vehicle only reached about 40mph, some passengers described their journey as “notably bumpy”.

Nevertheless, Musk’s ultimate aim is to have vehicles whizzing along at up to 150mph, in a series of tunnel networks across the US. 

“This is just a prototype. That’s why it’s a little rough around the edges,” he said yesterday. 

The South African-born billionaire described his first ride as “epic”, adding: “It was a eureka moment. I was like, ‘This thing is going to damn well work.’”

The unveiling comes two years after Musk announced that the traffic in LA was “driving him crazy” and that he planned to buy boring machines to “start digging through the city to find an alternative”, says Sky News

Musk plans to build the first public transit tunnel in Chicago, which will take the form of an 18-mile-long, two-way system for passenger vehicles, The Daily Telegraph says. 

The aim is to then build tunnel networks in LA and Las Vegas, with other cities across the US also expressing interest in similar systems.  

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