Virgin Group announced Thursday that he joined the project of high speed train Hyperloop including its leader Richard Branson will join the board of directors. The project will be renamed the Virgin Hyperloop One, according to a joint press release of Hyperloop One and Virgin, which do not, however, specify the financial details of the transaction. “After visiting the test site Hyperloop in Nevada and have met with its management team last summer, I am convinced that this technology will change the means of transport as we know it and significantly reduce travel time,” said Mr. Branson cited in the press release.
Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and executive chairman of Hyperloop One, has estimated for its part that the partnership was “quite natural”. “Virgin is a brand known and to have Richard as an ally will help strengthen our project and to develop Hyperloop One in the world”, he stressed.
Launched in 2013 by Elon Musk
The idea of the hyperloop has been launched in 2013 by entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of the car company Tesla and the aeronautical company SpaceX, but it is now developed by other companies without a shareholder relationship with him. A second successful test conducted by Hyperloop One took place at the end of July, to circulate a prototype over 450 metres at speeds of around 310 km/h, compared to 112 km/h during the first full test in may. The goal is to achieve speeds of the order of 1,200 km/h.
“We have shown that the Hyperloop actually works”, explained to AFP Shervin Pishevar, executive chairman and co-founder of Hyperloop One, which now has nearly 300 employees. “Starting today, we go to the process of commercialization”, he added. Hyperloop One is already in contact with several governments and potential partners, explained the ceo of the startup which has already raised $ 160 million from investors, including the SNCF. “It is likely that the first Hyperloop will be born abroad” and not in the United States, said Shervin Pishevar, without more geographical precision. “The speed at which other governments (the us government) can work as an advantage.”
The project has already collected funding of approximately $ 160 million, including investments of the port operator DP World Group (Dubai), the SNCF French, General Electric and the investment fund of Russian RDIF. Other companies are developing similar projects as the Northeast Maglev and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.