Richard Branson says ‘seriously considering’ Hyperloop rebrand


Just weeks after the launch of DP World CargoSpeed, the cargo carrying arms of the Virgin Hyperloop project, Sir Richard Branson has suggested the Hyperloop itself may be developed under a different name.

“Whether we actually keep the name Hyperloop is something we are questioning because I think this company is way ahead of all the others,” Sir Richard told CNBC Middle East’s Hadley Gamble in comments published on Arabian Business.

“The reason I joined is because there is a brilliant person called Josh Giegel who is the engineer and the genius behind it, and who got 200 engineers together to create something completely unique, something that goes faster than anybody else, that we believe will be a lot safer than anybody else,” he added.

According to Branson, Virgin Hyperloop is “way ahead of anybody else” in the Hyperloop race.

“So we are proud to put the Virgin brand on it and you know the proof will be in the pudding. I think that we will get the main contracts, we will deliver fantastic service, and I think Virgin Hyperloop will build that around the world.”

“I think that the Virgin brand is quite a strong brand and it’s been around for 50 years,” he added.  

Sir Richard Branson is the chairman of Virgin Group and the Virgin Hyperloop One board chairman.

“I think that’s the key differentiator perhaps from the other Hyperloop brands. But I personally feel that this particular concept has so many different factors from the others including the technology which we obviously can’t reveal,” says Branson. “It is so exciting that it deserves a new brand. It’s something which we’re seriously going to consider.”

Branson’s comments come just weeks after Virgin Hyperloop and DP World held a joint press conference aboard the QE2 in Dubai to announce that the cargo carrying arm of the operation would be called DP World CargoSpeed.

Group chairman and CEO of DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, said that DP World was the largest single investor in Virgin Hyperloop, because the system has the potential to carry goods at the speed of air freight, but at the cost of a truck.

Sulayem says the system, a vaccum-sealed tube in which a ‘pod’ is accelerated to 700 kph by magnets, would help "shape the future of global logistics".

“With this system you can move any cargo around the world in less than 14 hours, whether you are in China or in the North Pole, it will not take more than 14 hours," Sulayem said, but he added that DP World Cargospeed would not be building cargo-only Hyperloop routes within the UAE or elsewhere.

“We want to find ways of carrying goods within the pods being used by passengers,” he said. Essentially, DP World CargoSpeed will be to Virgin Hyperloop what Emirates SkyCargo is to Emirates Airline, which carries bellyhold air freight aboard its passenger aircraft.