WIRED: Virgin is working on electric cars and could one day take on Tesla, according to company founder Richard Branson. Speaking at a racing event in Miami, Branson said Virgin had “teams of people” working on electric cars but refused to be drawn on specific details. The company’s Virgin Racing team already competes in the all-electric Formula E championship, a high-speed, battery-powered spinoff of Formula 1. Branson has now hinted that Virgin’s involvement could lead to the company selling its own electric cars.
“So you never know — you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens,” Branson told Bloomberg.
The move would see Branson draw another comparison with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who runs electric car firm Tesla and the Space X commercial rocket business. Virgin’s Formula E car is capable of speeds of up to 160mph and can go from zero to 60 in little over three seconds.
Virgin’s experiments with electric cars come at a time when many non-automotive companies are toying with the technology. Apple is reportedly working on an electric vehicle, which could launch as early as 2020 and Google is also developing a self-driving electric car.
Branson’s business has continued to expand in recent years. As well as trains and planes, Virgin now has a fledgling space operation and is soon to launch its own cruise ships.