Musk's New Gamble: Tunnels
A lame joke for a name, a crazy, potentially illegal promotional stunt, and a product that just might, if all goes according to plan, revolutionize commuter travel in and around major population centers across the world.
The Boring Company was founded in December 2016, and being perhaps the Muskiest of all Musk companies, it wasn't long before the eccentric founder was using it as a release valve for some of his pent-up mental instability.
As you may recall, in early 2018, he offered "flamethrowers" for sale through the Boring Company's website.
He wasn't arrested for arms trafficking because what he was passing off as flamethrowers were actually highly overpriced garden torches — deadly only to common lawn weeds, and legal to use in all but one state.
For all levity associated with a project Musk claimed only consumed 2–3% of his time, a recent milestone may be a clue as to just how serious of an undertaking the Boring Company actually is.
Just yesterday, the Department of Transportation announced that the Boring Company has completed the environmental assessment for its proposed D.C.–Baltimore loop.
Musk in Baltimore
The tunnel system would allow for driverless EVs to move between the two cities at up to 150 mph, cutting the total commute time to less than 30 minutes.
Similar projects have been proposed in Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, and San Jose.
Though they lack the originally intended Hyperloop component, projects like these, if implemented around the country, will be in direct competition with traditional light rail and metro systems.
Musk's battle, however, may be more difficult than he had envisioned, and it's all thanks to his own timing.
Right now, the rail industry could be looking at a potential milestone in its own evolution.
A revolutionary intelligent electric motor, developed in Canada, will soon find one of its first major industrial applications in high-speed rail systems.
This motor, which uses artificial intelligence to manage the power distribution within its coil, will mark the first major chance in the fundamental design of electrical motors in almost two centuries.
Dynamic Power Management
Major improvements will be evident in power-out power, energy efficiency, and longevity.
This innovation, called dynamic power management, will in effect render the billions of electrical motors in use around the world obsolete.
Musk's woes go far beyond a potentially more powerful competitor for the Boring Company.
These motors are also threatening his biggest asset, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) itself.
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As the market starts to see the potential in major cost savings, the standard will gradually shift, and DPM-equipped electrical motors will become the new norm.
For Tesla, the total refit required just to keep up with the market could end up costing billions in equipment overhauls as well as slowed/paused production.
All of this adds up to an interesting, even eerie coincidence, as Musk himself has been one of the most vocal on the dangers of artificial intelligence being left to develop unchecked.
From Your Watch to the World's Biggest Cruise Ship
Paranoia aside, these DPM-equipped smart motors could see applications in hundreds of consumer products, as well as heavy industry — namely power generation itself.
DPM works just as well for generators, which are nothing more than electric motors being run in reverse, with an external force turning the coil to produce a charge.
More efficiency means more power production, and now we're talking a major market, as 99% of the power produced globally comes out of electric generators.
The company that invented DPM and is now making arrangements to license and implement the technology is itself fairly new.
It is, however, already public.
If you haven't figured out by the clues I've given you, click here and I'll fill you in.
Fortune favors the bold,
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