Electric Cars, Space, and Now Underground Sleds?

May 15, 2017

There are sleds that we use to play in the snow. Sleds for dogs. And now underground sleds to zoom people from one part of Los Angeles to another part of Los Angeles at super fast speeds? Why not? Elon Musk, the person behind the electric car company Tesla and space transportation company SpaceX, is back at it again. It started with a simple annoyance: traffic. Nobody likes traffic, right? But instead of sitting and fuming about the crazy gridlock that often occurs in Los Angeles, Mr. Musk decided to do something about it.

Image Credit: The Boring Company

The Boring Company (yes, it’s literally the name of the company), another one of Mr. Musk’s growing list of companies, has been researching and engineering the idea of a network of underground tunnels filled with electric sleds that would take cars from place to place in a fraction of the time it would to drive to the same locations on traditional roads above ground. How much faster, you ask? It would take five minutes to get from Westwood to Los Angeles International Airport, a drive that could take close to an hour during peak driving times.

Image Credit: The Boring Company

The first tests of these electric sleds took place a few days ago—they traveled at 125 miles per hour. How fast is that? Well, the average maximum speed limit for most California highways is 65 miles per hour. Those traveling by Mr. Musk’s underground electric sleds would be going about twice as fast.

But like any new idea, there are skeptics. Some think it’s an idea that wasn’t thought out too well. After all, Los Angeles is prone to earthquakes, and earthquakes and tunnels aren’t the best combination. Some criticize the idea because it’s not really solving a problem, but causing one. With a new road system, it would only cause more congestion because people would find more reasons to travel alone. There are definitely wrinkles to iron out, but no matter what becomes of the underground electric sleds, one thing’s for sure, the idea of a new road system is hardly boring.  

Question: If you were asked to solve the traffic problem in your city, what would you do about it?