Elon Musk Gets Stuck in Traffic

©. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

When I wrote the post What’s wrong with this picture, under a photo of a Tesla sitting in a double garage of a suburban house covered in solar panels, my big complaint was that “Designing our future around electric cars driving to single family houses, even if they are net zero, is just not going to scale.” You still were going to need lots of roads and lots of highways and people were going to be just as stuck. And sure enough, last week Tesla founder Elon Musk was just as stuck, tweeting (I hope not from his car)

I thought this was very funny. He wants to build tunnels.

He says he is serious about this.

Now I suspect that Mr. Musk has been reading the news, perhaps even TreeHugger, about how this has been proposed by PLP architecture with their CarTube proposal,


© PLP Architecture

...a narrow gauge tunnel where electric semi-autonomous cars get their own grid of tunnels. Where basically all of the private cars travel together like a private subway through private tunnels. It is an expensive proposition.

you are traffic

© Bike to work blog

The wonderful thing about these tweets is that Elon Musk proves the point we have been making on TreeHugger all along: Electric cars do not solve the problems of our cities, the problems of sprawl, the problems of congestion. In fact, they don’t change anything at all (except perhaps air quality). In the end, Elon Musk isn't stuck in traffic, he is traffic, no different from anyone else. And the answer to that problem is to get people out of cars, to reduce the need for cars, and for the infrastructure and the parking lots needed to move them and store them.

Hyperloop to dubai

BIG/ Hyperloop to dubai/Video screen capture

And of course, Musk knows this, that sometimes it is better to get out of the private car and get into a different kind of transportation system in tunnels or on rails, that carries lots of people on a vehicle separated from all the other cars. Musk could go all out and put it in a vacuum tube and call it a Hyperloop. Alternatively, he could get a bike.