As the Boring Company prepares to break ground for its Chicago-O’Hare high-speed transport project, the Elon Musk-founded startup announced that it would be offering tours of its tunnel site in Hawthorne, CA, to students in LA County. The tours, which could accommodate up to 30 students at a time, could be booked by contacting the Boring Company through email.
The Boring Company’s announcement of the tunnel tours was posted on the company’s official Twitter page on Tuesday. The tunneling startup noted that tours could be booked by interested faculty, or students with a faculty sponsor.
We are hosting student tours of the Hawthorne tunnel site for schools in LA County! Each tour can accommodate up to 30 students. Interested faculty (or students with a faculty sponsor!) can reach out to email@example.com
— The Boring Company (@boringcompany) August 14, 2018
Offering tours for students is a clever way for the Boring Company to introduce its underground transportation concept to a new generation of commuters. The Boring Company’s high-speed tunnels, after all, have been met with reservations from parties not comfortable with the startup’s ideas. Such reservations became prevalent back in January, when the Boring Company’s representatives presented the tunneling startup’s plans to members of the Culver City local government. Some officials, such as city council member Meghan Sahli-Wells, noted during the presentation that while the company’s tunnels were compelling, the idea was “half-baked from a public perspective.”
The Boring Company’s 2.7-mile Hawthorne project has been progressing well over the past few months. Back in May, Elon Musk posted an update on his personal Instagram page announcing that the test tunnel was nearly complete, and that the project was just pending final regulatory approvals. As soon as these are complete, Musk stated that the Boring Company would start offering “free demo rides” to the public. The tunneling startup showed more signs that the Hawthorne tunnel was nearing completion last month as well, at one point showcasing a section of the tunnel fitted with multicolored lighting.
The 2.7-mile Hawthorne tunnel is a portion of the company’s 6.5-mile proof-of-concept tunnel for the LA area, which is planned to run from northeast Westchester to Brentwood, one of the most traffic-congested sections in West Los Angeles. Ultimately, the Boring Company appears to be setting the stage for its proof-of-concept tunnel, as evidenced by a recent purchase of land in West LA, which would likely become a Loop station in the future. Loop stations are small landing zones and exits where passengers can access the Boring Company’s underground tunnel system.
Traveling through the Boring Company’s tunnels would be done through the use of electric-powered pods that can hold up to 16 passengers at a time. The all-electric pods are set to be manufactured by Tesla, and are capable of reaching speeds of up to 150 mph, thanks to a design that uses eight wheels fitted on the sides of the vehicle. According to the Boring Company, the Loop system, at least in its initial run, would prioritize commuters who do not have their own vehicles.
The Boring Company might be a tunneling startup seemingly founded by Elon Musk on a whim, but the company has grown significantly since it was founded back in December 2016. Earlier this year, an SEC filing revealed that the Boring Company raised $113 million in a funding round, $100 million of which was invested by Musk himself. After winning the bid for the estimated ~$1 billion downtown Chicago-O’Hare project, Berenberg analyst Alexander Haissl also noted that the tunneling startup could be worth as much as $16 billion in the future.