A Hyperloop project just got a huge boost from none other than business magnate Richard Branson. Hyperloop One will rebrand as Virgin Hyperloop One, as the Virgin Group invests in the high-speed transportation effort. The investment follows a July full-scale test, which co-founder Shervin Pishevar described as their Kitty Hawk moment.
Virgin Hyperloop One seems set to take on the world with help from Branson. He said in a blog post Virgin has always “been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies” and that he visited their test site, DevLoop, near Las Vegas during the summer, and was impressed with the tests. He’s now investing in the effort, and will also sit on the company’s board of directors.
Branson said during the second phase of testing, the Hyperloop team achieved a top speed of 192 miles per hour, and the longest test was 10.6 seconds. 436 meters, or around 1,430 feet, is the maximum distance traveled. The DevLoop tube length is 500 meters – around 1,640 feet – long, with a diameter of 3.3 meters, or around 11 feet.
Hyperloop One said in their statement on the investment that the partnership “feels like a natural fit.” Their President of Engineering Josh Giegel once worked at Virgin Galactic. Branson said he invests in people, not simply technology. Hyperloop One said they already have projects afoot in the United States, United Arab Emirates, India, Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands, and hope to accelerate commercialization with the help of the Virgin Group.
Even though the Virgin name is now attached to the project, Hyperloop One said Virgin won’t be the sole operator. Around the world, they’ll work with many different operators, chosen by customers.