It seems Richard Branson, the billionaire extraordinaire CEO behind the Virgin Group, has set his sights on electric cars. Having dabbled in too many different ventures and industries for even himself to count, this newest fixation seems to have the makings of something big.
Virgin Racing has had a good amount of relevant experience in this arena. While it was operating its Formula One racing team, the KERS energy recovery systems that boosted power through an on-board electric motor were an important component in gaining a performance advantage. Most recently, Virgin Racing has been competing in the all-electric Formula E series and is likely looking to use expertise gained there to further its EV agenda.
"We have teams of people working on electric cars, so you never know—you may find Virgin competing with Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens,” said Branson during an interview with Bloomberg at a Formula E Grand Prix in Miami recently.
The future of the automotive industry is still up in the air, but the smart money is banking heavily on electricity playing an integral role with regards to propulsion – just how that electricity is generated, however, is the subject of an entirely different discussion.
Developing a car, let alone a car company, is no easy undertaking even for the Virgin Group and the considerable resources at its disposal, but the EV industry has been getting a lot of traction lately with new players emerging left, right and centre - both big and small. It’s no surprise, then, that a company like Virgin has explored its options within it. After all, pursuing bold ventures are exactly what the company and its founder are famous for.
Richard Branson and Elon Musk clearly have their overlaps, and while Branson admits that “Tesla is as sexy as any other car on the road today”, he certainly isn’t sheepish about being eager to compete in that arena just as Virgin Galactic is doing with Space X.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.