Loop to O'Hare in 12 minutes: Elon Musk gets the job

Loop to O'Hare in 12 minutes: Elon Musk gets the job

Entrepreneur Elon Musk said Thursday a high-speed transportation system that will whisk people between downtown Chicago and O'Hare International Airport at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour could be operational in about three years.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Chicago bet on Musk's record as a founder who has built Tesla and SpaceX-the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. "He's proven something", Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said of Musk, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Adam Collins says the service will transport passengers between O'Hare and downtown in roughly 12 minutes using electric vehicles that will run through two underground tunnels. As noted by Chicago Tribune reporter Bill Ruthart on Twitter, Emanuel was very optimistic about the Boring Company's project, stating that the high-speed tunnels would "not cost the city a penny" and that it builds on Chicago's "legacy of innovation".

For the Loop, passengers are expected to ride in autonomous 16-passenger vehicles, or "skates", based loosely on Tesla's Model X SUV.The battery-powered vehicles will move along tracks with wheels on a concrete shelf much like a auto, while four stabilizing wheels on the sides would ride along curbs in the tunnel walls. "Tunnel construction and operation will be silent, invisible and imperceptible at the surface", the company said.

Mr Emanuel called the new transit system "the fast lane to Chicago's future". So far, a test tunnel a few hundred feet has been dug in a parking lot, and the company is trying to get approval to dig a 2.7-mile test tunnel underneath LA.

Currently, Chicagoans can ride to the airport for $5 on a Chicago Transit Authority train, taking about 40 minutes.

Alderman Scott Waguespack, whose ward covers parts of the city's north and northwest sides, said there are many unanswered questions and the project should be subject to a public hearing.

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Each electric skate could carry eight to 16 passengers or a single-passenger vehicle, according to a Boring Company fact sheet.

The Chicago and Los Angeles projects come as Musk wrestles with production problems for the rollout of the highly anticipated Tesla Model 3 sedan.

The Boring Company says it will shoulder the financial burden of the project, which will be "100% privately funded".

The Chicago Express Loop isn't the only project Elon Musk has up his sleeve.

More: Can Tesla's Elon Musk revolutionize tunneling? Details have yet to be finalized, but it looks like the project will cost around $1 billion and the Boring Company will pay most of the construction fees in exchange for keeping revenue from ticket sales, advertising, and in-vehicle purchases.

In its request for proposals, the city set a goal of connecting downtown with the airport in 20 minutes or less, with service every 15 minutes for the majority of the day.