SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk debuts a test tunnel, located in Hawthorne, Calif., for The Boring Company's Loop Transportation System on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of The Boring Company | License Photo
Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Billionaire Elon Musk unveiled an "entirely new system of transport" late Tuesday with a demonstration of a 1.14-mile test tunnel intended to ease Los Angeles traffic.
Musk drove down the tunnel created by his Boring Co., in Hawthorne, Calif., in a modified version of a Tesla X, which is manufactured by his electric car company. One end of the tunnel starts in a parking lot owned by Musk's SpaceX and the other ends in a neighborhood in Hawthorne.
"I thought it was epic," Musk told reporters about the drive in the tunnel that cost about $10 million. "For me it was an epiphany, like 'this thing damn well worked.'"
Musk founded the Boring Co. two years ago because he said traffic in Los Angeles was "nuts." In all, Musk estimates he's spent about $40 million of his own money funding the company. He described the Boring Co.'s tunnels as "an actual solution to the soul-crushing burden of traffic."
Earlier Tuesday, reporters took demonstration rides through the tunnel in a modified Tesla Model X SUV, going between 40 and 50 miles per hour. Deployable alignment wheels were attached to the two front wheels of the Model X, keeping the car from running into the side walls of the tunnel.
"If driver passes out or goes crazy those tracking wheels ensure the car stays on track," Musk said.
Musk envisions stacked tunnels -- calling them a 3D network -- with the main one allowing vehicles to travel 150 mph. They would enter and exit at certain points along the way via a ramp. The 12-feet wide tunnels are smaller than a subway.
"You can weave these stations throughout the fabric of the city without changing the character of the city," Musk said during a press briefing.
In June, the Boring Co. signed a deal to develop matching 17-mile, high-speed transit tunnels between Chicago's downtown and O'Hare International Airport.
"I would be surprised to see the tunnel in Chicago happen in the near future," Foster Finley, global co-head of the transportation practice for the consulting firm AlixPartners, told CNBC. "An elevated train from downtown Chicago to O'Hare would be easier and cheaper to build."
Finley noted underground obstacles include utility lines and aquifers, as well as obtaining property rights.