- Some of the first videos of Elon Musk’s Las Vegas tunnel hit the web on Thursday.
- Members of the media were invited to check out the tunnel ahead of its summer launch.
- The tunnel loop under the Las Vegas Convention Center spans 1.7 miles and has three stops.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The Boring Company’s Las Vegas tunnel system is nearly up and running, and initial videos of the network in action hit the web on Thursday.
Elon Musk’s tunneling firm invited members of the media to check out the 1.7-mile-long loop that runs beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center ahead of its debut this summer. And clips from the event show that the underground transportation network functions essentially as the billionaire described: “basically just Teslas in tunnels at this point.”
-Jeff Gillan (@jgillanNews3LV) April 9, 2021
Videos shared online show a parade of slow-moving Teslas dipping in and out of tunnels and driving around stations. The system is illuminated up by color-changing lights, making the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop look equal parts transit network and night club.
-James Schaeffer (@jamesmschaeffer) April 9, 2021
The LVCC Loop has three stops that span the convention center’s sprawling 200-acre campus. The people-mover – serviced by Teslas that customers can hail through an app – cuts a 45-minute walk across the convention center to a roughly two-minute ride, according to The Boring Company. The Teslas will travel at up to 35 mph, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.
-Mick Akers (@mickakers) April 9, 2021
Despite Musk’s claim that the loop is “way more profound than it sounds,” the system may not live up to all the hype.
It is meant to shuttle up to 4,400 passengers per hour, but documents obtained by TechCrunch in October show that the $52.5 million loop may only be able to accommodate 1,200 people due to fire regulations. And although The Boring Company has said it plans to service its tunnels with self-driving, high-capacity Tesla vehicles, the LVCC Loop is starting out with normal Teslas that require drivers.
-Mick Akers (@mickakers) April 8, 2021
Detractors say that makes The Boring Company’s projects little more than reinvented subways with significantly less passenger capacity. Critics also point out that The Boring Company’s noble aim of building congestion-alleviating tunnels under cities worldwide ignores the phenomenon of induced demand, which says that more roadways – even underground ones – will give way to more cars.
The LVCC Loop will be operational by June, according to the authority that runs the convention center. The Boring Company aims to expand the system to other Las Vegas destinations, including the airport and downtown. It is also in talks with Miami officials for a similar project there.