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Electric + Tunnel = Big Savings

San Bernadino county, which is a large county in southern California that includes a small section of east L.A., has recently taken the first step toward a new public transport solution to and from an airport. On June 3 the Board of Directors for the county’s Transportation Authority unanimously voted to approve the idea of building a Boring Company tunnel between Ontario International Airport and the city center of Rancho Cucamonga. [1]

This is good news for the Boring Company, which has only recently completed the tunnel in its first commercial project, located in Las Vegas. [2] 

The proposed project has the following stats: 

  1. Length: 4.5 kilometers
  2. Size: 4.3 meters in diameter
  3. Depth: 10.7 meters 
  4. Speed: 204 kilometers per hour
  5. Journey time: 90 seconds 
  6. Passengers per day: 1200
  7. Passengers per year: 10 million

The Transportation Authority’s new direction means that they are shelving a $3 million investigation of other airport transportation possibilities. As Robert Lovingood, the 1st District Supervisor on the Authority, said “I think it is a great way to inexpensively improve transportation corridors” and he even mentioned that the high desert, which makes up most of San Bernadino county, might make use of the technology. 

Southern California is known for its earthquakes, but the Boring Company has been pointed out numerous times that tunnels are safe in the case of an earthquake. Elon Musk reiterated this in a recent appearance on Jay Leno’s Garage where they drove a Cybertruck through the Boring Company test tunnel in Hawthorne. [3]

 

Personal comment

There are powerful synergies between electric vehicles and tunnels that lead to a system that appears significantly better than the alternatives; both financially and environmentally. Battery electric vehicles have no emissions. One consequence of this is that when tunnels are restricted to electric vehicle traffic only, they can be significantly smaller because there is no need for the complicated ventilation systems needed to remove pollution. That means less earth needs to be removed and therefore construction saves on cost and time. That saving is not little either, it is huge! The project in San Bernadino is estimated to cost upwards of $17 million, a small fraction of the estimated $1 billion cost for an above-ground electric rail solution. Construction of rail underground is even more expensive and can reach $1 billion per kilometer. [4] That cost-saving is extraordinary, and may well be a powerful incentive for cities, and people, to adopt electric vehicles even quicker. [5]

 

Written by Joshua Bronson, RISE.

 

Sources

1. 2020-06-03 Elon Musk-backed tunnel to Ontario airport gets go-ahead

2. 2020-05-24 Elon Musk’s Boring Company has finished the tunneling for its tesla powered people mover in Las Vegas

3. 2020-05-28 Jay Leno’s Garage: Elon Musk, Jay Leno and the 2021 Cybertruck

4. 2016-10-05 The cost of tunneling

5. 2020-06-08 Tesla Time News – Tesla’s New Boring Vehicle Leaked?