Look alive, people, we’ve got some fresh new Hyperloop news for you. No, this isn’t some new hypothetical route being announced somewhere. It’s some things! Happening!
Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has announced it is investing an undisclosed sum of money in Hyperloop One, one of three companies in the US trying to make this new form of transport a reality.
Why’s that a big deal? Well, it gives Hyperloop One a bit or of an assured footing. Having Virgin on board gives the company some proven expertise, cash flow, and of course Brand Branson.
“Together with Virgin, we will not only transform how we live, we will rethink how it feels to travel by creating a passenger experience that people will enjoy and look forward to riding,” said Hyperloop One President of Engineering Josh Giegel in a statement. “Our goal is to make travel fun again.”
The company has also been renamed as Virgin Hyperloop One, which makes this the third name for the company. It was originally called Hyperloop Technologies, but that was changed as it clashed with their major competitor, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.
“From our airlines to our trains to our spaceline, we have long been passionate about innovation in transport too, especially the development of technology that could transform people’s lives,” Branson said in a blog post. “This is just the latest example.”
Here’s the bit where we do the backstory again: Hyperloop is a quote-unquote revolutionary form of transport unveiled by Elon Musk in 2013. Using tubes sucked free of air, passengers riding in pods could travel at up to 1,200 kilometers per hour (760 miles per hour), making trips between major cities in minutes.
Hyperloop One Virgin Hyperloop One, has been conducting some testing out in Nevada. In August, for example, they completed their fastest pod test yet, reaching a speed of 310 km/h (192 mph).
Whether Hyperloop will ever actually become a reality, well, that’s up for debate. Virgin is known for its grand goals though, even if they don’t quite stick to their timeline. We’re still waiting for Virgin Galactic to launch space tourists, for example.
Quite what Branson’s plans for Hyperloop Technologies Virgin Hyperloop One will be, we’ll have to see. Maybe, with Virgin on board, it'll take a step closer to reality.
“After visiting Hyperloop One’s test site in Nevada and meeting its leadership team this past summer, I am convinced this groundbreaking technology will change transportation as we know it and dramatically cut journey times,” said Branson. We’ll see.