Richard Branson: Virgin might go to battle with Tesla

Richard bransonMichael Buckner/GettyVirgin could take on Tesla

Billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson hinted to Bloomberg that the company could take on Tesla in the electric car businesses.

Branson spent part of the week in Florida where the Virgin Racing team competed in a Formula 1 spin-off race for battery-powered cars capable of going from zero to 60 mph in three seconds.

“Where is Virgin going with this?” reporter Tom Randall asked Branson.

“We have teams of people working on electric cars,” Branson replied. “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.”

No need for Tesla CEO Elon Musk to start quaking in his boots, but it’s interesting that Virgin has multiple teams focused on electric cars.

The business of making smart, electric automobiles is gaining speed. Besides Tesla and possibly Virgin, Google continues to work on its self-driving cars, Uber may have similar ambitions, and Apple is reportedly working on its own vehicle.

Earlier today, Musk announced that upcoming versions of Tesla software will make the company’s cars better than ever, with autosteering features and the ability to optimise long-distance trips for drivers.

“Most cars don’t improve over time,” he said. “But the Model S does get faster, smarter, and better as time passes. The car gets better as you sleep, when you wake up, it’s like driving a new car.”

Even if Branson is plotting for Virgin to take on Tesla, he still seems to have respect for what Musk’s built: “Tesla is as sexy as any other car on the road today,” he told Randall.

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