Hyperloop One gets Richard Branson on board

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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.

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

Branson's Virgin Group has invested in Hyperloop One, and the new company will be re-branded Virgin Hyperloop One, according to a statement Thursday.

He said that the operation was only in the "early stages" of commercial development, but that he was looking forward to creating a global passenger service. "Our goal is to make travel fun again".

Hyperloop, the brainchild of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, involves pods being propelled through a near-vacuum at speeds of up to 700mph.

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In 2013, Musk pitched an idea for entrepreneurs to create a massive vacuum tube that could one day transport someone from Los Angeles to NY in 45 minutes.

Several companies are now exploring the market, including Northeast Maglev, Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Both have abandoned some of Musk's initial concepts, such as the proposed route and cost estimates, but kept the core technological proposal intact. Last month, the company announced it had raised an additional $85 million, bringing its valuation to somewhere around $700 million, the Verge reported. Brogan has since started a third Hyperloop company, Arrivo.

"You may first have heard of the original hyperloop name through Elon Musk", Branson wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

In July, Musk dropped the H-word in a tweet about the project: "Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop".

And there are still questions about whether the Hyperloop technology can even be made to work at all, at least in any way that renders it cost-effective compared to traditional high-speed rail.

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