Virgin Hyperloop One hits new top speed

In conjunction with the announcement of Branson as the company's new chairman, the firm said Monday it has reached speeds of 387 kilometers per hour, or about 240 mph, at its Nevada DevLoop test site. "This investment provides Virgin Hyperloop One with a very robust financial platform for 2018", Chief Executive Officer Rob Lloyd said in a statement.

They announced a $50 million boost from two existing investors, Caspian Venture Capital and DP World, an operator of marine and inland trade terminals.

The technology, whose name and concept was dreamed up by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, involves magnetically levitated pods that scoot along at high speeds inside pressurized tubes that in theory could be placed above or below ground.

Seattle-based Pacific Hyperloop has been working with Hyperloop One as well as regional experts to try to gain support for a Seattle-to-Portland hyperloop project.

The new $50 million series C investment round came from Caspian Venture Capital and DP World.

The company develops super high-speed transportation systems which are expected to cut travel time between NY and Washington to about half an hour.

A 28-foot-long pod was placed into a 1,600-foot-long concrete test tube, which was depressurized to the equivalent air pressure experienced at 200,000 feet above sea level. Supporting the work of Virgin Hyperloop One is part of our continued efforts to think ahead and plan for change and these kind of disruptive technologies have great potential. Electricity-powered magnetic levitation lifts the pod above the track, and it can easily glide with little air resistance and using less energy, according to a press release. Branson had initially joined the Virgin Hyperloop One board in October 2017 after Virgin Group invested in the company and formed a strategic partnership. All components of the system were tested including the airlock, highly efficient electric motor, advanced controls and power electronics, custom magnetic levitation and guidance, pod suspension, and the vacuum.

On his new role, Branson said: "I am excited by the latest developments at Virgin Hyperloop One and delighted to be its new chairman". Branson had taken a board seat at the company through this investment.

The Hyperloop achieved a speed of 240mph in its testing facility in Nevada. Musk has suggested a hyperloop system - with passenger-carrying pods zipping through vacuum tubes - could ultimately travel at speeds as high as 700 miles per hour, cutting the commute between Los Angeles and San Francisco to about 30 minutes. Hyperloop One said in the past that it was adopting best safety practices from around the world, including taking an overall systems approach to safety in the system design.

  • Wendy Palmer