Hyperloop One gets investment from Virgin Group

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One, the lead player in the race to develop Elon Musk's futuristic vision of a magnetically-propelled high-speed transport system into reality.

The investment, which comes as part of an $85 million fundraising announced in September, will see Hyperloop One add the Virgin name to its branding.

''This is an incredibly innovative and exciting new way to move people and things at airline speeds on the ground,'' Branson said in a statement.

''With Virgin Hyperloop One, passengers and cargo will be loaded into a pod, and accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. We're incredibly excited about the technology behind Virgin Hyperloop One and the way it could transform passengers' lives.''

Josh Giegel, co-founder of Hyperloop One, said ''the combination of our proven technology and Virgin's expertise in transportation, operations, safety and passenger experience will accelerate the commercialisation phase of our company's development, The Guardian reported. Together with Virgin, we will not only transform how we live, we will rethink how it feels to travel by creating a passenger experience that people will enjoy and look forward to riding. Our goal is to make travel fun again.''

According to Nick Fox, the Virgin Group's chief communications officer, Virgin did not become a majority shareholder in the young company, The New York Times reported. He added that Branson now has a seat on its board. The investment was Branson's own idea after he visited the site of a hyperloop test run in Nevada this year.

''Richard was excited by the concept,'' Fox said in a phone interview yesterday. ''He's always looking at the future of transport, whether it be in space or on land, and he's run trains for more than 20 years in the United Kingdom.''