Bobadilla, a tiny village in southern Spain that’s nestled between a 130-year-old railway and the Rio Guadalhorce, isn’t really known for much. But soon, it will feature a $500 million technical complex dedicated to an ultra fast, futuristic transportation system that was first conceived by Elon Musk.
Virgin Hyperloop One announced a deal on Tuesday with the state-owned administrator of railway infrastructures to build a research and development center in the little Spanish village. It will be the Los Angeles-based company’s first foray on the European continent.
In addition to Virgin Hyperloop One’s headquarters in LA, the company maintains a 500-meter test track in the desert outside of Las Vegas. There, it has conducted several high-speed tests, the most recent of which sent its carbon-fiber pod prototype through a nearly airless tube at a top speed of 240 mph. Musk’s original concept theorized speeds of up to 760 mph.
The new R&D center, however, will not include an additional test track for the company, a spokesperson said. The most likely location for a new hyperloop track appears to be Dubai, where Virgin Hyperloop One recently partnered with the city’s DP World to launch an ultra fast system for shipping goods. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson recently said he believes the hyperloop will be ready for human passengers by 2021.