The boring company tunnels focused on home-work journeys didn’t quite get it, and Elon Musk’s outfit looks set to change sides as a result. The edge reports this Bloomberg possesses got what it says is a Boring Company launch pad focusing on freight-focused tunnels that are said to be 21 feet wide, almost twice as wide as the 12-foot tunnels the company has dug until ‘now. They would be wide enough to hold two shipping containers side by side, where only one would fit perfectly into existing tunnels, according to the documents.
The freight would rely on “battery powered freight carriers” which ultimately move the shelves.
It’s unclear exactly how many potential clients get this pitch, although San Bernardino County in California is one of them. The Boring Company would like to generate interest in a freight tunnel that would reduce traffic on the roads around the area. It would fulfill a concept of an “inland port” that companies have been exploring for decades.
It would not be strictly a new effort. The Boring Company has looked at freight almost from the start, and its frequent rival, Virgin Hyperloop, has long viewed freight as a key element of his plan. This is more of a change of direction than a flip-flop, albeit an important one.
The redesign appears to be in response to a frosty reception of The Boring Company’s suburban plans. Musk’s startup abandoned plans for a Los Angeles tunnel in 2018 following a lawsuit over its environmental impact, and the company was already diverting its attention to public transport and pedestrians around the same year. In addition, there are signs that even the Transit oriented loop is not as promising as it initially seemed. TechCrunch Noted that the planned Las Vegas Convention Center system could only transport a maximum of 1,200 people per hour, not the 4,000 that The Boring Company had originally advertised. Simply put, the company’s initial strategy is not going as hoped.
Larger freight tunnels could help The Boring Company gain more customers, including those who might have disapproved of suburban crossings. As Moles Executive Director Tom Groark said Bloomberg, however, Musk’s crew may have to pay attention to the costs. Large tunnels are historically expensive, and The Boring Company may have to use unconventional strategies (such as using fixed-width tunnels) to make these corridors practical.
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