HomeNews and EventsSEMA Seen: Taking a ride in the Tesla Tunnel

SEMA Seen: Taking a ride in the Tesla Tunnel

Elon Musk named the company Boring, but we found the trip peaceful, colorful and anything but boring


On the end of the opening day of the 2021 SEMA Show, my iPhone reported I had taken more than 18,000 steps and covered 6.4 miles as I made my way from the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall, across the shortcut to the Central Hall, and then into the North Hall and finally all the way to the spectacular new West Hall. And then back again. 

I covered the same territory on the second day, but this time I walked only 4 miles. I saved several thousand steps by starting the day with a trip through the Tesla Tunnel, or as it is officially known, the Las Vegas Loop. 

Actually, this approximately 2-mile stretch is just the first section of the Loop, which recently was approved to extend some 29 miles — down The Strip, to the new football stadium and on to the airport, with around 50 new access stations.

The Loop is being built by The Boring Company, like SpaceX and Tesla, an Elon Musk enterprise. 

Tesla, SEMA Seen: Taking a ride in the Tesla Tunnel, ClassicCars.com Journal
A Tesla rolls past the cutting blades and down into the tunnel
Tesla, SEMA Seen: Taking a ride in the Tesla Tunnel, ClassicCars.com Journal
Colors change as your travel through the tunnel
Tesla, SEMA Seen: Taking a ride in the Tesla Tunnel, ClassicCars.com Journal
Rolling again

The company takes its name not from the tiresome, dull or tedious definition of the root word, but from that part of the definition relating to excavating a tunnel with a revolving tool. 

Speaking of which, at the South Hall entrance to the Loop, you can see one of those revolving tools used to cut the pair of one-way travel tunnels beneath the convention center complex.

As you might expect, Tesla electric vehicles are used for the trip through the tunnels, which are lit like a rainbow in varying colors along the route.

Using the least expensive parking option available — $10 a day in a lot just east of South Hall, I walked across the street, approached the Loop facility, and was instructed to head to the Car 4 sign. I waited only a few seconds before a Tesla pulled up. 

I got into the front seat, a couple of fellows got into the back seat, and the driver reminded us to buckle our seatbelts and, since we were in Nevada, to follow local regulations and secure our masks over our noses and mouths. We made a smooth left turn and headed down a ramp.

The underground ride was smooth, quiet, colorful and serene. We chatted with the driver — the fellows in the back seat saying they wanted to exit at the Central Hall station — and enjoyed the light show as we traveled through the tunnel. 

Tesla, SEMA Seen: Taking a ride in the Tesla Tunnel, ClassicCars.com Journal
West Hall arrival area includes a sample of the pre-cast tunnel enclosures

At Central Hall, the tunnel opened into more of a cavern, but again with lots of colorful lighting. We pulled over so the rear-seat passengers could exit. The driver and I were off again, on our way to the West Hall, where we went up a ramp to another above-ground station, located just to the west of the West Hall. 

Total trip took maybe 2 minutes. And there was no charge, presumably because of underwriting by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

With its fleet of electric-powered Teslas, The Loop reportedly can handle around 4,400 people an hour. The end-to-end trip would take 20 to 25 minutes walking at a decent pace, but less than 2 minutes if you ride through the Tesla Tunnel.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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