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Branson's in the 'loop: Virgin makes big bet on Hyperloop One
13 October 2017, 12:41 | Ross Houston
Richard Branson's Virgin Group has invested in Hyperloop One
Virgin Hyperloop One
"For more than 20 years, Richard and Virgin have been at the forefront of transportation innovation, and a partnership with them feels like a natural fit", Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and executive chairman of Hyperloop One, said in a statement.
Hyperloop One is developing a system theorized by entrepreneur Elon Musk for rail transport at near-supersonic speeds, and in August announced that a test of full hyperloop system at its private facility in the desert near Las Vegas was a success, hitting record speeds. Last month, Hyperloop One said it had raised an additional $85 million in financing from investors, bringing its total financing raised since its founding in 2014 to $245 million.
Trains: Hyperloop floats above the surface of the tube. The company's vision is for the magnetic-based system to be used as a major mode of transport between cities, eventually reaching speeds of around 760mph, and potentially connecting London to Edinburgh in 50 minutes.
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The technology for Hyperloop One is now in the early stages of the commercialisation phase after the successful completion of the world's first full scale hyperloop systems test at the DevLoop site outside Las Vegas.
In August, the Hyperloop traveled nearly the entire length of the track and reached a top speed of 192 miles per hour.
On their website, Virgin said: 'Ever since our creation, Virgin has been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies. "We're incredibly excited about the technology behind Virgin Hyperloop One and the way it could transform passengers' lives". How fast the first passenger hyperloops will travel, and from where to where, is still anyone's guess, but it looks more and more like vacuum tube transportation is a wave of the future. Branson attended and said he saw "firsthand the exciting technology being tested".
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Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said earlier he expected the European Union to approve the transaction by the end of 2017. Ryanair previously described the negotiations as a "stitch-up" meant to strengthen Lufthansa.