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Hyperloop illustration. Image Credit: SpaceX

Clean Transport

Musk Breaks The Internet With Boring Company Tweets

Elon Musk took to Twitter today to say he has verbal permission to begin boring tunnels from NYC to DC. He also spoke about other routes under consideration.

Not having enough to do with getting the Model 3 out the door, reducing space rocket turnarounds to 24 hours, and ramping up production of the Tesla Solar Roof, Elon Musk broke the internet this afternoon with a series of Tweets about his new, new thing — The Boring Company.

Hyperloop

That has sent the Twittersphere into hyperdrive. What exactly is verbal government approval?* Which government? And how much are verbal assurances worth in a day when nothing and no one can be believed? No matter. The great man has spoken (or tweeted if you prefer). NY to DC in under 30 minutes is going to happen. Elon said so.

Actually, he said quite a few other things during his Twitter blast. “City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city,” read another tweet. Which raises an interesting point. Are we talking about elevators to carry people to Hyperloop pods or vehicles that will ride on electric sleds as envisioned in a video from a few months ago?

No doubt, Musk will clarify things eventually. In the meantime, he teased lots of other interesting tidbits.

In April, Musk told Chris Anderson, the curator of TED Talks, that some Hyperloop technology could be used underground since the tunnels will be able to withstand five or six atmospheres. That’s more than the partial vacuum planned inside the Hyperloop tubes. “There’s no real length limit” to a Hyperloop route, Musk said.

The thing about tunnels is, they just go underneath any obstacles — tall buildings, rivers, mountains, whatever. Purchasing the rights to build new transportation systems, like high-speed rail, can cost billions. Permission to drill underground costs peanuts in comparison. Is Musk worried? Not really.

One thing not entirely clear is what Musk’s relationship is with Hyperloop Technologies and Hyperloop One, the two private companies that are working feverishly to make Elon’s Hyperloop concept a commercial reality. Originally, Musk set his idea free to be used by anyone who wanted to pursue it. It was like message in a bottle, floating on a sea of ideas. Is Musk now planning to commercialize the idea himself? And where does that leave those others companies who have spent years and millions of dollars on Hyperloop technology.

Musk’s tweets raise as many questions as they answer but that has never held him back for long. The mashup between The Boring Company and Hyperloop makes it seem like Elon’s mother put him to bed when he was young with a pillow speaker permanently tuned to Steely Dan’s IGY. “On that train all graphite and glitter, undersea by rail. Ninety minutes from New York to Paris….” If anyone can make it happen, it is Elon.

Update: Note that there’s apparently some disagreement about whether or not Elon Musk got verbal approval.

 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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