A startup seeking to become the first company to deliver on Elon Musk's vision of a new mode of transportation has rebranded as Hyperloop One, having raised $80 million in funding to help accelerate its push to launch the high-speed system.
Hyperloop Technologies Inc. changed its name as it believes it is on course to beat all other rivals to deliver a Hyperloop transportation system, CEO Rob Lloyd said Tuesday at an event in Las Vegas, where the company will demonstrate its Hyperloop system for the first time Wednesday.
Called a “propulsion open-air test,” the demonstration will see an electric motor traveling at up to 300 miles per hour on a half-mile long test track the company built in the Nevada desert. The $80 million Series B funding round will be used to allow the company to carry out a full system test before the end of the year, CTO and co-founder Brogan BamBrogan said Tuesday.
"We believe this is the one company that can deliver hyperloop first, that's why we're changing our name to Hyperloop One," Lloyd said. The name change will also help distinguish Lloyd's company from its main competitor Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), which is building another version of the futuristic transportation system.
The zero-emission transportation technology was first described by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk in a 58-page white paper published in 2013. Musk said he didn't have the time or resources to build the system himself due to commitments at his other companies, so he made the white paper open source and invited commercial and academic groups to take up the challenge.
The futuristic technology promises to carry passengers and cargo inside pods that would travel in low pressure tubes at speeds of up to 750 miles per hour. Hyperloop One says its version of the technology uses electromagnets but it is continuing to investigate other potential technologies.
Hyperloop One has also announced a Global Challenge competition to identify where in the world the first Hyperloop system should be built. Among the potential uses under consideration is a system connecting the capitals of Sweden and Finland, a journey that currently takes 16 hours by ferry that could be reduced to just 30 minutes.
HTT has already signed an agreement with the Slovakian government to build a Hyperloop system that could connect to Austria and Hungry.
The $80 million Series B funding round brings total investment in the startup to $100 million with new investors, including 137 Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Fast Digital, Western Technology Investment (WTI), SNCF, the French National Rail Company, a force behind high speed rail in Europe, and GE Ventures.