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Sir Richard Branson has announced that his Virgin Group is investing in the Hyperloop One project, a train concept first proposed by SpaceX’s Elon Musk back in 2013. The entrepreneur said the technology can make it possible to travel from Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes.
The project has been rebranded as Virgin Hyperloop One. In simple terms, the concept uses electric propulsion and magnetic levitation to move a ‘pod’ at super-fast speeds through a low-pressure tube. Branson said the technology allows the pod to travel at airline speeds for long distances due to “ultra-low aerodynamic drag”.
Branson pointed out that an important aspect of his decision to invest in the technology is the fact that the concept is all-electric, and “the team is working on ensuring it is a responsible and sustainable form of transport”. The technology is still in its early stages, but developers have completed the first full-scale systems test at a site outside Las Vegas, which Branson said he witnessed first-hand.
During this test, the pod reached a maximum speed of 192mph, with an acceleration rate equal to 0 to 60mph in 1.85 seconds.
“Projected journey times in the UK include Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes,” Branson said in his announcement.