A Tesla Bus or Van for the Boring Tunnels Is Still in the Cards
Elon Musk has been talking about the possibility of a Tesla “higher-passenger density vehicle,” which could either be a bus or a van, since 2016, in association with The Boring Company tunnels, aka the Loop projects.
Currently, in development in several metropolitan areas in the U.S., the tunnels have evolved from the original idea, which even used these “higher-passenger density vehicles” in Tesla / Boring Company-sanctioned renders. Currently, the Loop tunnels are regular tunnels through which regular Teslas travel.
But that’s not to say that Elon Musk has given up on the idea of a Tesla bus or van of some sort. On Twitter some hours ago, as word got out that Tesla had applied for an extension to the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop to the city of Las Vegas, Musk engaged with followers and supporters and may have accidentally revealed a bit of information meant to be kept from prying eyes.
First things first, though: to be clear, the futuristic early renders of the Loop showed pods being lowered into vacuum tunnels, where they would levitate magnetically and then travel at nearly-breakneck speeds, are no longer viable. These days, the Loop is just a tunnels system through which Teslas travel, most likely on Autopilot.
It sounds simple, but it’s profound. Cue to Elon: “We simplified this a lot. It’s basically just Teslas in tunnels at this point, which is way more profound than it sounds.” He doesn’t say how traveling through a tunnel by car could be more “profound.”
Then, as part of the same discussion and in a now-deleted tweet, Musk revealed that a Tesla bus is still considered an option. Electrek has the screenshot, with the reply from the Tesla CEO reading: “We will make a dense Tesla if it matters. Maybe just better to have more tunnels though. There is no practical limit to tunnel count. Increased traffic due to ‘induced demand’ is the second dumbest theory I’ve ever heard after homeopathy!”
That said, Musk never really dropped the idea of a Tesla bus for the tunnels. In June this year, the San Bernardino County Supervisor accidentally revealed that, as part of negotiations with The Boring Company for a loop in the greater Los Angeles region, a 12-person electric van, with space for luggage for all passengers, was being developed by Tesla.