Posted on April 29, 2017 by Matt Pressman
Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] CEO Elon Musk took the stage at a TED Talk yesterday in Vancouver and provided a glimpse into the future of travel. During the talk, he included a slick teaser of the forthcoming Tesla Semi truck along with an elaborate vision of Teslas traveling through a system of underground tunnels dug by his latest business venture, The Boring Company. The interview started with a witty back-and-forth between Musk and TED organizer Chris Anderson who asks Musk, "Why are you boring?" Musk: "I ask myself that frequently."
Above: Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks with Chris Anderson at the TED conference (Image: Recode)
Musk followed up with a captivating teaser video showcasing a future in which underground tunnels would serve as a way to alleviate traffic. Business Insider reports, "The Boring Company, Musk's latest venture, led by SpaceX engineer Steve Davis, is working on building a network of underground tunnels in Los Angeles that would transport cars on an electric skate. The skate would propel cars through the tunnel at a maximum speed of 130 mph — fast enough to get from Westwood to Los Angeles in five minutes, Musk said."
Above: Elon Musk's vision for underground tunnels (Youtube: The Boring Company)
It's reported that this 3-D system of underground tunnels would operate in the following manner: "A car would pull into a metal container that would then transport it underground... [and] An electric skate would then rocket the car through the tunnel... [and] Musk has said the underground network would include as many as 30 layers of tunnels, which could accommodate cars and a Hyperloop." In addition, "Musk said the Boring Company was taking only '2 or 3 percent' of his time. Interns and Tesla employees are working part-time on the project."
Above: Elon Musk at TED 2017 (Youtube: TED)
Furthermore, it's important to note that "Tunnel-boring is a notoriously expensive process... [however] Musk said the Boring Company would also cut costs by improving the power and thermal limit of its tunneling machine by 'a factor of four or five.'" He joked, "We have a pet snail called Gary... So Gary is capable of currently going 14 times faster than a tunnel boring machine," Musk said. "We want to beat Gary. He is not a patient little fellow, and that will be victory."
Above: Elon Musk's Boring Company tunnel boring machine (Image: Business Insider)
Electrek also reported that, "After announcing a planned unveiling in September 2017 for Tesla Semi, Tesla’s all-electric semi truck, Musk released the first teaser image of the truck.. [and] confirmed that the prototype is already working and he even got a quick test drive around the parking lot... The CEO also confirmed that the vehicle will be capable of long hauls." Musk explained, "You're so nimble and you’re in this giant truck. We want to show that an electric truck can out-torque any diesel semi. If you had a tug of war, the Tesla semi will tug the diesel semi uphill. It will be a very spry truck. You can drive it around like a sports car.”
Above: Teaser image of the new Tesla Semi truck (Image: Electrek)
There was some additional discussion about Tesla as well. Musk reiterated that Tesla is on track for completing a fully autonomous, cross-country LA to New York trip by the end of 2017. “November or December of this year, we should be able to go from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey.” And Tesla's worldwide expansion efforts will accelerate — he noted that Tesla plans to announce locations for another four Gigafactories late this year. “We need to address a global market,” Musk said, hinting that these new factories could soon be spread out across the world.