Virgin Hyperloop One announced today that it's expanding into Europe. The company plans to build a $500 million development facility in the small village of Bobadilla located in the Andalusian region of Spain. The center will develop, test and certify components of the firm's hyperloop systems — though there won't be a test track at this location, a spokesperson told The Verge — and it's projected to be up and running by 2020.
"For hyperloop to be commercially viable it needs to be safe and reliable — safety is our number-one priority," Virgin Hyperloop One CTO Josh Giegel said in a statement. "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 center will help us deliver upon our first projects and scale to meet future demand around the world."
While it's the first European development facility for the company, it's not the only one in the area — Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced last year that it was working on a facility in France. Meanwhile, Virgin Hyperloop One has previously eyed Asia and the Middle East.
With its new Bobadilla test facility, Virgin Hyperloop One joins a number of other tech companies working in this location. According to the company, the region hosts more than 9,000 firms focused on transport and logistics, 20,000 employees in research and development and the second largest aerospace cluster in Spain. "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 and Testing Center," Rob Lloyd, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, said in a statement.
The company estimates that it will hire 200 to 300 additional employees to staff the center.