A map of a potential location for a tunnel across the Blue Mountains of Australia.

Expand / Potential tunnel project linking Sydney (Australia) to the West.

Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company – presented his new tunnel drilling capabilities to elected officials elected as well as to the director of CERN (the organization that owns and operates the Large Hadron Collider) in Swiss).

Just a month after Musk opened its first robust test tunnel under the SpaceX campus in Hawthorne, Calif., The CEO was informed of Twitter's variable pricing and talking plans.

Last week, New South Wales House Speaker Jeremy Buckingham asked Musk on Twitter: "How much is needed to build a 50-kilometer tunnel across the Blue Mountains and open the door?" 39, west of our state? " Musk replied"About $ 15M / km for high-speed transit in both directions, so probably about $ 750M plus maybe $ 50M / station."

About $ 15M / km for high-speed transit in both directions, so probably about $ 750M plus maybe $ 50M / station

– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2019

In his original tweet, Buckingham tagged Mike Cannon-Brookes, an Australian billionaire who co-founded Atlassian. Cannon-Brookes was involved in a bet in 2017 that led Tesla to deploy the world's largest battery in South Australia.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), experts in engineering and tunnels are extremely skeptical about prices charged by Musk. They added that including ventilation and emergency evacuation zones in the mountainous region would increase costs, as well as "geotechnical conditions and integration with the wider transportation network. ".

Musk himself said that traditional tunnels can cost up to $ 1 billion per mile in heavily populated areas. An estimate of $ 15 million / km, or about $ 24 million, would represent a significant and innovative technological change, as The Boring Company has not yet demonstrated. At a press conference in December, Boring representatives presented the next steps in modifying the boring machines to improve the cost of these operations. But these machines were still demonstration projects on December 18th.

Such a tunnel should be in line with the operational model described by Musk when he opened his first tunnel at Hawthorne in December, that is, it would be a tunnel that exists exclusively for electric vehicles. . Electric vehicle owners could enter the tunnel, and people who do not own electric vehicles could, in theory, wander in rented electric vehicles, managed by the owner of the tunnel. (Musk said in December that The Boring Company would be willing to own and operate the transmission systems it would build or hand over to the entity that commissioned the network, depending on the circumstances.)

Musk said it was essential to limit tunnels to fully electric vehicles to reduce the cost of tunnels. He is right in thinking that the tunnel diameter may be a little smaller because electric vehicles do not need as much air circulation as internal combustion vehicles. (And a smaller tunnel diameter means less mud to transport and less material needed to strengthen the structure.)

No certainty of this partnership

Plans for the future circular collider. "src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/fccdl-300x144.jpg "width =" 300 "height =" 144 "srcset =" https: //cdn.arstechnica .net / wp-content / uploads / 2019/01 / fccdl-640x306.jpg 2x

Enlarge / Projects for the future circular collider.


Monday morning, Musk took a second informal step. he tweeted in response has a Review of MIT technology article on the future circular collider, a CERN project to build a new particle collider four times larger than the current large Hadron Collider.

"The CERN director asked me about the construction of the new LHC tunnel by Boring Co when we were at the @royalsociety," Musk tweeted. "Would probably save several billion [sic] Euros. "

The director of CERN asked if Boring Co had built the new LHC tunnel while we were in @ Royal Society. This would probably save several billion euros.

– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2019

This month, CERN published a concept design report describing a series of high-performance particle colliders housed in a 100 km circumference tunnel. According to the MIT Technology Review, the future circular collider could be completed as early as 2040. In the absence of a lower bid from Boring Company, the researchers estimated that the tunnel alone would cost $ 5 billion. Euros ($ 5.7 billion).