Virgin announces its investment in Hyperloop One 

  • The idea for a Hyperloop system was first unveiled by Elon Musk in 2013
  • It is a high-speed transport system that can travel up to 700 miles/hour 
  • Hyperloop One’s version will now be re-branded as Virgin Hyperloop One
  • Sir Richard Branson will join the Los Angeles firm’s board of directors
  • The company plans to have ‘operational systems’ ready by 2021
  • Projected journey times in the final system are expected to include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes, and LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes 

Shivali Best


and
Harry Pettit For Mailonline

Sir Richard Branson is leading a £65 million ($85 million) investment in a Hyperloop firm which he claims will transport passengers between London and Scotland in 50 minutes.

The billionaire’s Virgin Group has formed a partnership with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, which is developing a method of propelling passengers and freight in pods through low pressure tubes at high speed.

Virgin described it as ‘the world’s most revolutionary train service’.

The company will be re-branded as Virgin Hyperloop One and Sir Richard will join the board of directors.

It is aiming to achieve speeds of up to 670mph (1,000 kph) and have ‘operational systems’ ready by 2021.

Scroll down for video 

Sir Richard Branson has invested in a Hyperloop firm which he claims will transport passengers between London and Scotland in 50 minutes 

Sir Richard Branson has invested in a Hyperloop firm which he claims will transport passengers between London and Scotland in 50 minutes 

Sir Richard Branson has invested in a Hyperloop firm which he claims will transport passengers between London and Scotland in 50 minutes 

Sir Richard's Virgin Group has formed a partnership with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, which is developing a method of propelling passengers and freight in pods through low pressure tubes at high speed

Sir Richard's Virgin Group has formed a partnership with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, which is developing a method of propelling passengers and freight in pods through low pressure tubes at high speed

Sir Richard’s Virgin Group has formed a partnership with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, which is developing a method of propelling passengers and freight in pods through low pressure tubes at high speed

WHAT IS HYPERLOOP? 

Hyperloop is a proposed method of travel that would transport people at roughly 670mph (1,000 kph) between distant locations.

It was unveiled by Elon Musk in 2013, who at the time said it could take passengers the 380 miles (610km) from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes – half the time it takes a plane.

It is essentially a long tube that has had the air removed to create a vacuum.

The tube is suspended off ground to protect against weather and quakes.

Hyperloop is a proposed method of travel that would transport people at rapid speeds between distant locations.

The idea was first launched by Tesla boss Elon Musk in August 2013, who released the plans for free.

He is not associated with Hyperloop One, but has urged interested parties to develop the technology.

Last month, Hypleroop One announced it had raised £65 million ($85 million) in funding from a number of undisclosed investors, taking its estimated value to over £530 million ($700 million).

It has now been revealed that Virgin led the investment, though other parties involved in the deal have not been divulged.

Sir Richard said: ‘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.

‘Virgin has been known for investing in and creating innovative companies over the years, and I look forward to making history together as we bring Hyperloop to the world as Virgin Hyperloop One.’

Sir Richard, who is currently developing commercial space travel through Virgin Galactic, went on: ‘Virgin Hyperloop will be able to transport people from London to Scotland in 50 minutes.

Sir Richard said: 'The total 'DevLoop' tube length is 500 metres and the tube's diameter is 3.3 metres [10.8 ft]. The maximum length of propulsion segment used is 300 metres, with an advanced proprietary levitation system throughout the DevLoop Tube'

Sir Richard said: 'The total 'DevLoop' tube length is 500 metres and the tube's diameter is 3.3 metres [10.8 ft]. The maximum length of propulsion segment used is 300 metres, with an advanced proprietary levitation system throughout the DevLoop Tube'

Sir Richard said: ‘The total ‘DevLoop’ tube length is 500 metres and the tube’s diameter is 3.3 metres [10.8 ft]. The maximum length of propulsion segment used is 300 metres, with an advanced proprietary levitation system throughout the DevLoop Tube’

Hyperloop is a proposed method of travel that would transport people at roughly 670miles/hour (1,000kph) between distant locations

Hyperloop is a proposed method of travel that would transport people at roughly 670miles/hour (1,000kph) between distant locations

Hyperloop is a proposed method of travel that would transport people at roughly 670miles/hour (1,000kph) between distant locations

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

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

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

‘I have a funny feeling that I’ll get a lot of satisfaction from people saying it’s transformed their lives.’

Sir Richard told CNBC people could see a Hyperloop developed in the US in the next two to four years.

Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and executive chairman of Hyperloop One, said the partnership ‘feels like a natural fit.’

‘Virgin is an iconic brand and having Richard as an ally will help strengthen our mission to spread Hyperloop One throughout the world,’ Mr Pishevar said in a statement.

The Hyperloop system was originally proposed by billionaire PayPal founder Elon Musk, who at the time said he did not intend to build one himself. It works via a partial-vacuum tube that levitates pods for minimum friction, allowing passenger to travel at high speed

The Hyperloop system was originally proposed by billionaire PayPal founder Elon Musk, who at the time said he did not intend to build one himself. It works via a partial-vacuum tube that levitates pods for minimum friction, allowing passenger to travel at high speed

The Hyperloop system was originally proposed by billionaire PayPal founder Elon Musk, who at the time said he did not intend to build one himself. It works via a partial-vacuum tube that levitates pods for minimum friction, allowing passenger to travel at high speed

The idea was first launched by Tesla boss Elon Musk in August 2013. He is not associated with Hyperloop One but has urged interested parties to develop the technology

The idea was first launched by Tesla boss Elon Musk in August 2013. He is not associated with Hyperloop One but has urged interested parties to develop the technology

The idea was first launched by Tesla boss Elon Musk in August 2013. He is not associated with Hyperloop One but has urged interested parties to develop the technology

HYPERLOOP ONE: PROPOSED ROUTES 

 US:

– Cheyenne to Denver to Puelbo (360 miles / 580 km)

– Chicago to Columbus to Pittsburgh (488 miles / 785 km)

– Miami to Orlando (257 miles / 413 km)

– Dallas to Houston (640 miles / 1,000 km)

UK:

– Edinburgh to London (414 miles / 660 km)

– Glasgow to Liverpool (339 miles / 545 km)

India:

– Bengaluru to Chennai (208 miles / 335 km)

– Mumbai to Chennai (685 miles / 1,100 km)

Other:

– Mexico City to Guadalajara (330 miles / 530 km)

– Toronto to Montreal (400 miles / 640 km) 

Trains between London and Edinburgh currently take around four hours and 20 minutes, with flights lasting one hour and 20 minutes.

Hyperloop One is in the early stages of making the technology commercially viable after completing a full-scale test in Las Vegas.

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

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

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

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

The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag

The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag

The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag

The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

During its second phase of testing, Hyperloop was able to reach speeds of 192 miles/hour (310 kilometres/hour) – although it was only able to maintain this for 10.6 seconds.

Projected journey times in the final system are expected to include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes, and LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes.

During its second phase of testing, Hyperloop was able to reach speeds of 192 miles/hour (310 kilometres/hour) ¿ although it was only able to maintain this for 10.6 seconds

During its second phase of testing, Hyperloop was able to reach speeds of 192 miles/hour (310 kilometres/hour) ¿ although it was only able to maintain this for 10.6 seconds

During its second phase of testing, Hyperloop was able to reach speeds of 192 miles/hour (310 kilometres/hour) – although it was only able to maintain this for 10.6 seconds

WHAT IS DEVLOOP? 

The ‘DevLoop’ project, short for ‘development Hyperloop’, will test both track and pod systems. 

If the company completes this DevLoop, it will be the first full-scale Hyperloop system and the world will see a whole new mode of transportation.

The 1.8 mile (3 km) full-scale and full speed enclosed prototype is taking shape in the desert in North Las Vegas in Nevada.

The technology is currently being tested at the DevLoop site, just outside Las Vegas.

Sir Richard said: ‘The total ‘DevLoop’ tube length is 500 metres [1,600 ft] and the tube’s diameter is 3.3 metres. 

‘The maximum length of propulsion segment used is 300 metres, with an advanced proprietary levitation system throughout the DevLoop Tube.’

Hyperloop One, which has previously raised more than £120 million ($160 million) in investments.

Projected journey times in the final system are expected to include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes, and LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes

Projected journey times in the final system are expected to include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes, and LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes

Projected journey times in the final system are expected to include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes, and LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes

COMPANIES BEHIND HYPERLOOP

After a year-long search for the most promising Hyperloop routes, the firm looking to bring Elon Musk’s radical idea to life has finally announced the winners.

Among thousands of applicants, Hyperloop One has chosen 10 routes in four countries including the US, Mexico, India, Canada, and the UK.

In total, they would cross 53 urban centres and span a total of 4,121 miles (6,600 km), connecting almost 150 million people.

The firm, which Elon Musk is not associated with, plans to have three of the routes up and running in a commercial capacity by 2021.

A number of companies will be involved in delivering the routes themselves, and the technology behind them. 

Elon Musk’s Boring Company 

Musk may be behind at least one of the routes, in a bid to speed up adoption of the radical travel technology he invented.

In July, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted he had ‘verbal government approval’ to build an underground tunnel to transport passengers between New York and Washington DC in just 29 minutes.

And in August, Bloomberg reported that he plans to build the whole system himself.

‘While we’re encouraged that others are making some progress, we would like to accelerate the development of this technology as fast as possible,’’ said Musk’s Boring Co in a written statement at the time.,

‘We encourage and support all companies that wish to build Hyperloops and we don’t intend to stop them from using the Hyperloop name as long as they are truthful.’ 

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) have already begun construction on the first passenger capsule, and it could be available early next year.

According to the firm, their pods will be able to carry a total of 164,000 passengers every day, departing every 40 seconds.

HTT and Spanish firm Carbures have started work on the radical pod that they say will be the first passenger capsule in the world.

A video teasing the construction process shows a glimpse at the inside of a futuristic capsule that could fit 28-40 passengers at a time.

The Hyperloop pod, which will be tested at the company’s Toulouse headquarters, will harness passive magnetic levitation and a low pressure tube to hit unprecedented speeds.

Aecom

Global engineering firm Aecom, who built Hyperloop One’s test track, is backing a number of proposed routes for the high speed technology.

This includes the Miami to Orlando and Dallas to Houston routes in the US and the Edinburgh to London route.

It is expected they will be involved with the construction and engineering side of these routes. 

In a written statement on the company’s website, a company spokesman said: ‘Aecom is the only engineering company in the world to have planned, designed and constructed Hyperloop projects.

‘By embracing a relentless drive to stay ahead of the curve, we anticipate complex challenges and unleash the creativity, ingenuity and visionary thinking of a global innovation powerhouse to imagine solutions that revolutionise the way we connect people and places.’ 

Port colossus DP World Group of Dubai last year invested in the concept, joining backers including French national rail company SNCF, US industrial conglomerate General Electric and Russian state fund RDIF.

Musk’s Hyperloop involvement is for now limited to potentially building the tunnels with his latest startup – The Boring Company.

Several companies are now exploring the market, including Northeast Maglev, Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

Last month, Hyperloop One revealed the winners of its year-long search to find the 10 most promising Hyperloop routes worldwide.

Last month, Hyperloop One revealed the winners of its year-long search to find the 10 most promising Hyperloop routes worldwide (pictured). Three of the routes are planned to be up and running in a commercial capacity by 2021

Last month, Hyperloop One revealed the winners of its year-long search to find the 10 most promising Hyperloop routes worldwide (pictured). Three of the routes are planned to be up and running in a commercial capacity by 2021

Last month, Hyperloop One revealed the winners of its year-long search to find the 10 most promising Hyperloop routes worldwide (pictured). Three of the routes are planned to be up and running in a commercial capacity by 2021

A Cheyenne ¿ Denver ¿ Puelbo  route spanning 360 miles (580 km) would have a high number of stops

A Cheyenne ¿ Denver ¿ Puelbo  route spanning 360 miles (580 km) would have a high number of stops

A Cheyenne – Denver – Puelbo  route spanning 360 miles (580 km) would have a high number of stops

The firm has said it will attempt to build Hyperloop systems along all ten routes, with three planned to be up and running in a commercial capacity by 2021. 

Among thousands of applicants, Hyperloop One chose routes in four countries including the US, Mexico, India, Canada, and the UK.

In total, they would cross 53 urban centres and span a total of 4,121 miles (6,600 km), connecting almost 150 million people.

In the US, the winning routes include Dallas – Houston (640 miles/1,000 km), Miami – Orlando (257 miles/413 km), Chicago – Columbus – Pittsburgh (488 miles/785 km), and Cheyenne – Denver – Puelbo (360 miles/580 km). 

Another winning route spans 480 miles (1,000 km) from Dallas to Houston (with a few other stops along the way)

Another winning route spans 480 miles (1,000 km) from Dallas to Houston (with a few other stops along the way)

Another winning route spans 480 miles (1,000 km) from Dallas to Houston (with a few other stops along the way)

In Canada, a Montreal-Toronto route would also stop in Ottawa and span 400 miles (640 km)

In Canada, a Montreal-Toronto route would also stop in Ottawa and span 400 miles (640 km)

In Canada, a Montreal-Toronto route would also stop in Ottawa and span 400 miles (640 km)

The UK was determined to have two of the best routes as well, with stops in England and Scotland.

The routes are Edinburgh – London (414 miles/660 km) and Glasgow – Liverpool (339 miles/545 km).

Two routes were chosen in India as well, including Bengaluru – Chennai (208 miles/335 km) and the longest proposed route, Mumbai – Chennai (685 miles/1,100 km).

In Canada, Toronto – Montreal (400 miles/640 km) was chosen, and in Mexico, Mexico City – Guadalajara (330 miles/530 km) was selected. 

A 257-mile (413 km) route between the Miami and Orlando airports would connect Florida

A 257-mile (413 km) route between the Miami and Orlando airports would connect Florida

A 257-mile (413 km) route between the Miami and Orlando airports would connect Florida

Four proposed routes are in the US, including a 488-mile (785 km) Chicago ¿ Columbus ¿ Pittsburgh line (pictured)

Four proposed routes are in the US, including a 488-mile (785 km) Chicago ¿ Columbus ¿ Pittsburgh line (pictured)

Four proposed routes are in the US, including a 488-mile (785 km) Chicago – Columbus – Pittsburgh line (pictured)