Elon’s Boring Company Talks With Israel About Tunnel Projects

Bloomberg reports that Elon Musk is talking to Israel about tunnels provided by the Boring Company.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed his government was in talks with Elon Musk about tapping into Boring’s tunneling solutions to address infrastructure concerns. Israel has traffic congestion problems. Netanyahu appears to have just won a close election in Israel.

Israel is working or planning on several underground tunnels to improve transportation.

The Boring Company can build tunnels faster and more than 10 times cheaper than conventional approaches. Current tunnels cost about $200 million to $1 billion per mile. Boring Company will dig tunnels for $10 million per mile or less.

The next Boring Company tunneling machine called Line Storm will be ready any day now. It will be twice as fast as the first Boring Company machine. The third machine will be an all-electric tunneling machine called Prufrock will be eight times faster than Line Storm.

Elon is planning significantly increase the speed of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). TBMs are super slow. A snail is effectively 14 times faster than a soft-soil TBM. Elon’s goal is to defeat the snail in a race. Here are the ways they plan to increase TBM speed:

Increase TBM power. The machine’s power output can be tripled (while coupled with the appropriate upgrades in cooling systems).

Continuously tunnel. When building a tunnel, current soft-soil machines tunnel for 50% of the time and erect tunnel support structures the other 50%. This is inefficient. Existing technology can be modified to support continuous tunneling activity.

Automate the TBM. While smaller diameter tunneling machines are automated, larger ones currently require multiple human operators. By automating the larger TBMs, both safety and efficiency are increased.

Go electric. Current tunnel operations often include diesel locomotives. These have been replaced by electric locomotives.