Then it hit the brakes, slowed way down and the big redundant front-wheel curb feelers started banging off the curbs. The concrete ledges we rode on were wavy, not flat, and I began to think the Model X was very nearly going to bounce off them, while at the same time banging off the curbing. It was more terrifying than it was revealing.
So there we were, bouncing and banging toward the underground future of transportation, our driver regularly grabbing the wheel to keep the whole contraption from coming apart in spectacular fashion. I imagined the headline: "Five die in tunnel disaster — Musk blames 'idiot press' for crash." Our driver had to keep grabbing the wheel as the bouncing and banging got increasingly more violent. I estimated we were going 45 mph, maybe. Did other transportation pioneers get scared like this, or were they braver, did they have moxie, did the first steam-driven automobile have terrified reporters on it screaming like teenage girls? Perhaps not.
Then the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. We'd made it. Whew!
Again, this is a crude prototype. Production tunnels, those the public will ride in, will be "perfect," Musk promises. So no bouncing or banging. Really.
At the end of the track is another elevator platform staffed by young mining engineer types. I could look up through the big windshield and see their bearded mugs peering down at us. Someone hit a button and the platform rose. We came out into the most nondescript suburban/industrial alley you've ever seen and then drove on surface streets back to where we started. We went past the Hyperloop, Elon's other great transportation idea, and past SpaceX, which so far may be the only one of these crazy ideas to turn a profit.
Will it all work? Will we all be whisked about in musktunnels at hyperspeed to whichever destination we desire? Who knows? Musk knows. And he is saying "Yes."