Elon Musk’s Loop is unusual fun, improving Las Vegas tradeshows

By Jenny LescohierJune 22, 2021

The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop began its inaugural week of operation June 8

If you work in construction, chances are you’ve been to Las Vegas for one of the major equipment tradeshows held there. And if that’s true, then you’re familiar with the challenge of getting from one end of the sprawling convention center campus to the other.

Fortunately, there’s now a solution that will keep you light on your feet for days of trekking to see the latest and greatest earthmovers and more.

The distance from one end of the Las Vegas Convention Center to the other is approximately one mile and a quarter, but it can take from 30 to 45 minutes to walk if there are large crowds to contend with. Since CONEXPO-CON/AGG draws up to 130,000 visitors when it’s held every three years, it’s a prime example of a setting where many wish they could simply teleport to their next meeting or exhibit.

Elon Musk, renowned entrepreneur and co-founder/CEO of Tesla, has no plans to teleport you anywhere (that we know of), but he has come up with a way to do something close to it. His venture, The Boring Company (TBC), has just completed construction of the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, a 1.7-mile transportation system utilizing soon-to-be autonomous Teslas to take people from end to

Test results released on May 29 revealed the Loop can handle 4,400 passengers per hour

end in as little as two minutes - and with little wait!

How does The LVCC Loop work?

We had the opportunity to try out the Loop, funded by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) at a cost of approximately $52.5 million, during its first week in operation on June 8, and the experience was just about everything it was promoted to be.

There are three stations to enter through; two are above ground (one outside the newly constructed West Hall and one at the South Hall) and the other is located underground at the Central Hall. Commuters simply enter one of the stations, pick a Tesla vehicle of their choice, hop in and enjoy the short trip through a subterranean tunnel to one of the other two stations.  

According to results revealed on May 29, the system can handle more than 4,400 passengers per hour.

There was no appreciable wait when we rode the Loop, however, one can imagine that during a show like CONEXPO-CON/AGG, there might be a line of commuters waiting for their turn at a Tesla trip through the tunnel. There were personnel directing passengers and answering questions when we were there, but we’ll have to wait and see how high volume affects the procedure.

The Loop has three stations, one of which is underground and located outside Central Hall, where passengers descend into a subterranean setting complete with the bright lights of Vegas

Meanwhile, it’s pretty cool to take a ride in a new Tesla Model X or 3, if even for just a minute or two. During its inaugural week, the Teslas were driven by humans, but the current plan is for autonomous electric vehicles (AEV) to take over by December. They’ll be guided by conduit sensors in the tunnels and can safely travel up to 155 mph, however they stuck to a conservative 35 mph during our trip.

Loop is an all-electric, zero-emissions, high-speed public transportation system, located 40 feet underground, in which passengers are transported to their destination with no intermediate stops. It’s similar to a subway in many ways.

We recommend entering for the first time from the Central Hall stop because it affords you the experience of descending an escalator and being greeted by a modern and stylish light show complete with electronic billboards welcoming you to the Las Vegas Convention Center. It wouldn’t be Vegas, after all, without some lights and billboards.

After taking the less-than-two-minute trip through the

One of the Loop’s three stops is located outside the brand-new West Hall, which is now fully operational

(surprisingly narrow) tunnel to the next station, all you need to do is exit the vehicle and be on your way. There was no charge for the service when we tried it, but it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a price attached to the service in the future. Again, we’ll wait and see. 

The Loop was built in approximately one year using the now-legacy Godot Tunnel Boring Machine (retired bit shown here)

For now, check out our pics for a taste of the Loop experience. And for more, check out this video courtesy of The Boring Company and the Las Vegas Sun.

 

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