Virgin Hyperloop One sees billionaire Branson back Elon Musk's tech

Pat Wise
October 12, 2017

Jalopnik reported last month that a proposed route in Colorado that Hyperloop One is interested in could cost at least $24 billion.

Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, has announced an investment in Hyperloop One - which will now be rebranded Virgin Hyperloop One.

Branson has announced that Virgin has invested in Hyperloop One - an innovative system that could see passengers travelling at speeds of 700 miles/hour.

Branson added that he was investing in the people as well as the technology.

Resembling a latter-day Johann Sebastian Bach lost in Margaritaville, Branson has made a decision to add high-speed tubes to his portfolio of transit companies already in the Virgin Group, which includes two regular-speed train divisions, Virgin Atlantic (planes), and Virgin Galactic (commercial space flight, eventually).

In the system, passengers and cargo will be loaded into a pod, and accelerated gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube.

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Hyperloop One, the Los Angeles-based startup working on an ultrafast tube transportation system, is no more.

Multiple startups took up the challenge, including Hyperloop One, cofounded by Musk's friend Shervin Pishevar. Earlier this year, the company completed its first test track outside Las Vegas.

Virgin Hyperloop One will join Sir Richard's sprawling business empire, which includes high-speed rail investments in Virgin Rail and his space flight venture Virgin Galactic.

The entire field was shaken by the announcement in July that Elon Musk meant to build his own Hyperloop after all.

So Hyperloop One may be the furthest along in developing the futuristic transportation network, but it still has a long way to go. The company was embroiled in a messy lawsuit previous year between its two founders. It is building a network for underground tunnels to enable much faster transport between cities. Musk tweeted that he had "verbal government approvals" to build an underground tunnel from NY to Washington DC through his start-up The Boring Company, although he did not, in fact, have formal approval from any relevant government body.

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