Virgin's founder, Sir Richard Branson invests in Elon Musk's Hyperloop One, which aims to reinvent transportation to eliminate the barriers of distance and time. Now it is rebranding itself as Virgin Hyperloop One.
Hyperloop One or Hyperloop Technologies is a Los Angeles based company that is working to commercialize the Hyperloop for moving passengers and/or cargo at airline speeds at a fraction of the cost of air travel.
The Hyperloop uses a linear electric motor to accelerate and decelerate an electromagnetically levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle will glide silently for miles at speeds up to 670 mph (1080km/h) with no turbulence. The system is designed to be entirely autonomous, quiet, direct-to-destination, and on-demand. Additionally, as Hyperloop is built on columns or tunneled underground, it eliminates the dangers of at-grade crossings and requires much smaller rights of way than high-speed rail or a highway. Hyperloop One has made substantive technical changes to Musk's initial proposal and chose not to pursue the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles route that Musk envisioned in his 2013 white paper.
Shervin Pishevar and Josh Giegel, Co-Founders, and Rob Lloyd, CEO, Hyperloop One said, “We have a new ally in our mission to reinvent transportation, and it’s someone who’s changed the industry a few times already in his career. Today we’re announcing that legendary entrepreneur Richard Branson and his Virgin Group have invested in Hyperloop One. Richard is also joining Hyperloop One’s Board of Directors, bringing along a proven track record of delivering breakthrough transportation experiences.
The Virgin Group and Hyperloop One will be entering into a global strategic partnership focused on passenger and mixed-use cargo service. As part of the partnership, our company’s name will be changing to Virgin Hyperloop One over the coming months. Virgin and Hyperloop One working together presents a differentiated brand that’s instantly recognizable around the world and lends tremendous credibility as we scale. Our global strategic partnership will focus on passenger and mixed-use cargo service, in addition to the creation of a new passenger division. Virgin will not be the only operator. We will work with a variety of operators globally, as selected by customers.”
The technology for Hyperloop One is currently in the early stages of the commercialisation phase after the successful completion of the world's first full scale hyperloop systems test at their DevLoop site outside Las Vegas.
Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes
Branson said in his blog post, “Earlier this summer I was fortunate to visit the site and see first-hand the exciting technology being tested. I was very impressed and now look forward to helping turn this cutting edge engineering into a global passenger service. During phase two of testing, the duration of the longest test has been 10.6 seconds, with the top speed of 192mph (310kmh) – or 86 meters per second. The maximum distance travelled is 436 meters, with a peak acceleration of 1.48 Gs – equal to 0 to 60mph in 1.85 seconds.
The total ‘DevLoop’ tube length is 500 meters and the tube’s diameter is 3.3 meters. The maximum length of propulsion segment used is 300 meters, with an advanced proprietary levitation system throughout the DevLoop Tube. Projected journey times in the UK include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes.”