The investment is intended to accelerate the development and testing of Virgin Hyperloop One’s proprietary technology and lead to commercialisation across Europe.
The agreement with the Spanish government’s Administrator of Railway Infrastructure (Adif) involves the opening of a technology development and testing centre in the Andalucian region of Spain. The facility, which is valued at approximately US$500m, will be the company’s first European development facility. In return for this investment, Virgin Hyperloop One would receive €126m in public aid through loans and grants to help establish the new centre.
The agreement was signed Adif president Isabel Pardo de Vera Posada and Rob Lloyd, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One.
“With its robust transportation, aerospace, and high-tech sectors in turn paired with outstanding regional talent, Spain is an ideal fit for Virgin Hyperloop One’s Advanced Technology Development & Testing Center,” said Rob Lloyd, Virgin Hyperloop One CEO. “By investing in the development and testing of Virgin Hyperloop One, Spain is extending its long-tradition as an innovative, global transport leader. We are excited to partner with such a forward-thinking country in developing the next generation of transportation.”
The Virgin Hyperloop One Advanced Technology Development and Testing Center is to be located in Bobadilla in the municipality of Antequera, in the province of Malaga. The area has the second-largest aerospace cluster in Spain, with more than 9,000 companies in transport and logistics and and 20,000 employees in R&D.
Virgin Hyperloop One plans to hire 200-300 professionals with skills in high-tech areas and said that the centre would spur job creation in a broad ecosystem of partners and suppliers in the region.
“The location of the centre in our country will lead to important high-value commercial opportunities and will boost economic growth in the region,” said Adif in a statement. “The agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One will help us to deepen the willingness to face new technological challenges, contributing to reinforce our leadership in the development of transport infrastructures in the international arena.”
The 19,000m2 centre, planned to be opened by 2020, would develop, test, and certify components and subsystems to continually improve safety and reliability of hyperloop systems.
“For hyperloop to be commercially viable it needs to be safe and reliable – safety is our number-one priority,” said Virgin Hyperloop One co-founder and chief technology officer Josh Giegel. “We’ve already been testing and improving our technology for the last four years, including building the only full-scale hyperloop system in the world. Ultimately, the centre will help us deliver upon our first projects and scale to meet future demand around the world.