A Tesla party: The 3-station Las Vegas Loop that’s revolutionizing how you get around
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If Elon Musk has his way, there’s going to be a new way to get around Las Vegas.
Naturally, that vision includes perhaps his most famous project to date: Tesla electric cars. It also involves a bunch of tunnels crisscrossing the city’s underworld.
Essentially, Musk’s goal is to build a network of interconnected tunnels and stations for self-driving Teslas to shuttle visitors underneath Las Vegas and beyond. The ultimate aim of the project is to solve the problem of traffic gridlock.
To accomplish that, Musk founded the Boring Company, designed to create a lower-cost and more efficient transportation network both in and between cities. The first component of Musk’s master plan is already operational in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, located underneath the city’s 4.6 million-square-foot convention center, acts as a proof-of-concept for creating a comprehensive transportation network underneath Sin City.
The Loop currently spans three stations — West, Central and South — and two one-way, 0.8-mile tunnels across the convention center. With a fleet of over 30 Teslas (including a range of models), you can be ferried across the convention center, for free, in mere minutes, a trek that would’ve taken nearly 25 minutes by foot.
On a recent trip to Vegas, I had the chance to ride the Loop just days after it opened. The first thing I noticed is that there are drivers — though the plan is to ultimately turn this into an autonomous transportation system, riders are currently shuttled around by humans.
Another thing I noticed — and appreciated — is the cool, trendy vibe that the Loop’s trying to create. With a mix of rotating colors and Top 100 music, you almost felt like you were entering the city’s hottest nightclub, not a “boring” tunnel to get from point A to point B.
Once I descended the escalator in the Central Station, I felt like I’d immediately walked into the future. Teslas were silently stopping and starting, whisking people away at a frenetic pace. (The system’s capacity is currently at 4,400 riders per hour.)
It wasn’t long until it was my time to ride. A white Model X, with its falcon-wing doors, pulled up moments later. I hopped in, told the driver that I wanted to experience the loop and away we went.
We went through the tunnel at nearly 40 miles per hour, and I was at the West Station just moments later. We went for a few more loops around the track, stopping at the three different stations to get a feel for the setup.
Had I been attending a conference — it was WasteExpo when I visited — I likely would’ve appreciated the fact that I got between the far ends of the convention center in under two minutes. (My Apple Watch, on the other hand, would’ve made sure to remind me to hit my daily step goal.)
Though the Loop is still in its infancy, the future is promising. The operator is currently building an extension that connects the Loop to the new Resorts World property. The ultimate goal is to add extensions to casinos along the Strip, the airport, Allegiant Stadium, Downtown Las Vegas and eventually to Los Angeles.
If, and when, the Telsas drive themselves, it’ll be a sight to see (and ride).
In the meantime, if you’re attending a conference, then you’ll have something to do between sessions. For everyone else, well, you’re left with a three-stop loop that promises to change the way we get around Las Vegas.
Until then, you’ll find me waiting in the taxi stand on the Strip waiting for a ride to the airport.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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