Richard Branson's Virgin Group has invested in super-fast transport system Hyperloop One as the reality of a hyperloop connecting U.S. hubs becomes clearer.
Virgin Group's investment total wasn't disclosed when Branson announced the deal on CNBC on Thursday, Oct. 12, but it was part of a funding round that generated $85 million for the hyperloop company. Hyperloop One will be rebranded following the investment as Virgin Hyperloop One and will focus on passenger and mixed-use cargo service.
Branson said that it would be possible to have a hyperloop transportation system in two to four years if "governments move quickly." No government has yet approved a plan for such a system.
Branson, who will join the company's board, said building a hyperloop tube above or below ground is "cheaper" and construction can go "faster" than traditional rail work. The Hyperloop technology works by propelling pods through tubes that use magnets and reach speeds close to those of airplanes.
Hyperloop One carried out the first full-scale test of its technology earlier this year, in which a test sled reached a speed of 70 mph in a 5.3 second run. The next test will aim to send a passenger pod to speeds of 250 mph.
The hyperloop transport system was an idea first made popular by Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk. He said in July that his Boring Co. received approval to build a hyperloop system in the U.S.
Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017
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