Richard Branson and Virgin Group invest in Hyperloop One

Richard Branson and Virgin Group invest in Hyperloop One

Hyperloop One, the company built on Elon Musk's vision for fast and efficient freight and passenger transportation, has closed an $85 million series B round.

The Hyperloop will work by loading passengers and cargo into a pod and accelerating gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube.

Those who recall Branson cosplaying as a mermaid, or refusing to move out of the direct path of a category 5 hurricane could be forgiven for thinking the knighted Brit has lost all grip on reality-investing in a vapory transit startup being the latest evidence on his descent into full-on Howard Hughes-dom.

Its tracks use magnetic levitation and the pod glides at airline speeds for long distances.

Hyperloop trains work by loading passengers and cargo on to a pod which is accelerated to speeds of nearly 700mph inside a sealed low-pressure tube using electric propulsion. In its announcement today, Virgin Hyperloop One says that it "continues to see a growing demand from governments and the private sector around the world".

In a post on his website, Branson said he aimed to turn it into a "global passenger service" which could complete the 332-mile journey between the Scottish and United Kingdom capitals, via Manchester, in under an hour. For example, the firm envisions 30-minute trips between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

'The maximum distance travelled is 436 metres, with a peak acceleration of 1.48 Gs - equal to 0 to 60mph in 1.85 seconds.

On their website, Virgin said: 'Ever since our creation, Virgin has been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies. "Importantly, Virgin Hyperloop One will be all-electric and the team is working on ensuing it is a responsible and sustainable form of transport too".

Meanwhile, Musk is now working part-time on a similar project, called The Boring Company.