October 4, 2023

This looks like a shuttle prototype built by Tesla for The Boring Company

This looks like a shuttle prototype built by Tesla for The Boring Company photo

This looks like a shuttle prototype built by Tesla for The Boring Company photo

The Boring Company was built on a promise to revitalize the image of public transport. Gone would be the views of rat-laden subway systems and overcrowded buses. Instead, it believes there should be visions of modern battery-powered shuttles cruising through tunnels lit like raves…or at least that’s the idea.

Elon Musk, the founder of The Boring Company, designed lightning-fast autonomous buses that would transport masses of passengers around various urban loops, eliminating hellish overhead traffic. Musk even showed a video in 2018 showing concepts of these shuttles. It seems The Boring Company has moved beyond concepts as a video of an alleged Tesla-built shuttle prototype has surfaced on Musk’s own social media. platform.


Click here to watch the video on Twitter if it’s not shown above.

The video’s poster called the vehicle a “secret Tesla van prototype designed for Elon Musk’s Vegas Loop.” It slides over an open space shuttle – loose frame with lots of glass covering every wall and ceiling. A total of eleven passenger seats with their backs against the glass line on either side of the vehicle. It has a single seat for the driver with a large display and a steering wheel directly in front of the seat. If you look closely, you can see a Tesla logo in the center of the steering wheel.

We want to be clear: the actual purpose, location and construction of this vehicle cannot be verified. The Boring Company also did not return The drive request for comment at the time of writing, meaning the company itself has neither confirmed nor denied whether the vehicle belongs to them.

However, there are signs that Tesla has been looking to expand into “high passenger density urban transportation” since at least 2016. Elon Musk has also previously said that The Boring Company would prioritize people over cars, meaning a mode of transportation capable of carrying more people than its three-passenger Tesla sedans would have to show up at some point to achieve that goal . It would also make sense for two Musk-led companies to bolster each other’s businesses with shared technology, R&D, and purchasing power.

This vehicle is probably not a new Tesla creation. The shuttle shown in the video is likely an early engineering prototype still standing at TBC’s Las Vegas site. In fact, the prototype vehicle may have existed as far back as 2019 or earlier, as revealed by a Reddit commenter who claims they saw it at The Boring Company’s headquarters when they applied for a position in 2019.


The original video of The Boring Company’s shuttle concept can be seen on Twitter by clicking here.

You might wonder why Tesla, the company whose CEO has promised to solve self-driving “next year” every year since 2014, gave the concept vehicle a steering wheel. When the Las Vegas Loop first opened for business, local regulators were prohibited from operating any sort of driver assistance system, meaning a real person had to be in control of the vehicles at all times. This was relaxed in 2021 to allow The Boring Company to test Tesla vehicles with Autopilot enabled in its tunnels, and in 2022 Steve Hill, president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said it would soon be “relatively soon”. can begin testing autonomy, although not by the end of the calendar year.

So for now, this presumed one-off prototype is still a mystery. The Boring Company has not acknowledged its existence, at least not publicly. Neither does Tesla. However, the vehicle’s layout, past corporate goals, the video’s caption, and the lone Redditor noticing its existence four years ago would indicate it’s nothing more than an unrealized dream — at least for now.

You’d have to wonder what the possibilities are if there were a dozen of these shuttles all chained together. Perhaps they can run through The Boring Company tunnels at high speed to avoid traffic while carrying a large number of passengers. And the loop already has stops in convenient locations, so creating a schedule where people can just get on and off at regular intervals seems ideal. It all sounds quite familiar, doesn’t it?

Do you have a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: rob@thedrive.com

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