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Elon Musk’s company unveils first look at the Las Vegas loop

Questions remain over how the tunnel-way will operate as media outlets get first look at long-awaited underground project

Chris Riotta
Washington D.C.
@chrisriotta
Sunday 11 April 2021 17:45
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The firm launched by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, which is behind a massive underground construction project in Las Vegas, gave a first look at what is being described as a “people-mover system” near the city’s iconic strip.

The tunnel-way, dubbed the “Vegas loop”, is a nearly $52.5 million endeavour that The Boring Co. launched in 2019. 

It was expected to cut the 15-minute walk along the Las Vegas Boulevard resort corridor into a two-minute trip, propelled by Tesla vehicles capable of carrying as many as 16 people. 

For now, however, the Vegas loop features only Tesla Model X and Model 3 vehicles rather than the larger, 16-person cars, with president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Steve Hill telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “It seems that during a pandemic is not the time to be increasing capacity.”

Reporters and various Las Vegas media entities were shown the project on Thursday at the expanded Las Vegas Convention Center, which featured one of three stations designed for the loop, the Las Vegas Convention Center Central Hall. 

At 40 feet underground, the nearly 1.5-mile tunnel connects to two stations that are above ground, as Tesla’s self-driving vehicles carry passengers at speeds of 35 mph. The company said it would initially employ its own drivers to also operate the vehicles during trips in the event of emergencies. 

Questions remain surrounding the new project, including how passengers will be able to load and unload from the vehicles and what those 16-passenger vehicles may look like. 

James Schaeffer, a reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, described his experience within the tunnel-way and said many details remained unclear, Gizmodo reported. 

“Now, we’ve gotten to see a lot on this tour. Heck, I’m in a Tesla right now going through it,” he said, “But there are some details that we are not so sure of ... that we’re still finding out more about, like the loading and waiting procedure times and about the 16-passenger vehicles that will be coming through these tunnels.”

“Until then,” he continued, “we’ll just be going along for the ride like everyone else.”

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