Is Sir Richard Branson Gearing Up To Take On Tesla?
Will Virgin ever make an electric car for consumers?
Sir Richard Branson’s numerous companies build and sell everything from rockets to cell phones. And now the billionaire founder of Virgin Group has indicated his sights might be set on chasing Elon Musk on the ground as he already does in space.
CEO Richard Branson hinted as much during a chat with Bloomberg, noting that Virgin’s already got a team plugging away on high-speed electric car that’ll participate in the Formula E racing circuit, but here’s the bit that everyone’s seized on:
We have teams of people working on electric cars,” Branson said. “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.”
To be absolutely clear, there’s nothing at all concrete about his statements. Lots of things might happen. What’s indisputable, though, is Branson’s general distaste for more conventional, petrol-guzzling cars. The past few years have seem him tooling around in a Saab 9-5 BioPower station wagon, and he reiterated just today that he hopes “10 years from now the smell of exhausts from cars will be a thing of the past as much as the smell of cigarettes in restaurants.”
Virgin’s automobile aspirations could range from mass production to boutique. There are several white label auto makers around the world that would handle the manufacturing for a Virgin EV. Branson’s diverse Virgin empire, now including more than 400 companies, clearly states he’s not afraid to dive head-first into a new venture with little fear of failure or embarrassment. That’s what makes him so interesting and the thought of a Virgin EV plausible. Gotta love rumors.