Richard Branson Becomes Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One
Richard Branson, the tycoon of Virgin fame, invested in Virgin Hyperloop One and formed a global strategic partnership earlier this year. In May he visited the DevLoop test site outside Las Vegas where the company was running its system at 70 miles per hour.
“I was really impressed by it,” said Branson, “and since then the team have made a lot of exciting progress.”
Recently, on a test track 1,640 feet long, the company achieved a new test speed record of 240 miles per hour, as part of the engineering team’s completion of a third phase of week testing.
Meanwhile, the company raised an additional $50 million investments from key shareholders Caspian Venture Capital and DP World. This sets up Virgin Hyperloop One to pursue opportunities in key markets in the Middle East, Europe, Russia, China and the US as it develops game-changing and innovative passenger and cargo ground transport systems.
In October 2016, Hyperloop One and DP World signed an agreement that calls for collaboration on an economic and technical feasibility study of how Hyperloop technology can improve the efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali port in Dubai. Caspian VC has been investing in Hyperloop since at least early 2016.
Virgin Hyperloops One’s team of 200 engineers, machinists, welders, and fabricators also successfully tested a new airlock, which helps transition test pods between atmospheric and vacuum conditions. The company has also successfully tested a highly efficient electric motor, advanced controls and power electronics, custom magnetic levitation and guidance, pod suspension, and the vacuum. The tests were conducted in a tube depressurized down to the equivalent air pressure experienced at 200,000 feet above sea level.
“Having seen the brilliant team in action,” said Branson, “I’m looking forward to seeing more big steps forward in the year ahead.”