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DS Virgin Racing hosts New York Innovation Summit

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and the DS Virgin Racing team today called for business to ‘drive forward’ technology to tackle climate change at an innovation summit on the eve of New York’s inaugural Formula E ePrix.

Sir Richard, a panel of experts and other prominent business leaders, discussed how companies can positively influence people’s lives and save the planet – with Sir Richard arguing that entrepreneurs and global business leaders are not handcuffed by the same restraints as governments.

Sir Richard also formally announced that his companies have joined the “We Are Still In” campaign.

The movement of hundreds of US mayors, governors, academic leaders, and businesses aims to reiterate support for the Paris Agreement in light of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal.

Sir Richard said: “Now is the time to get massive investments into alternative energies. The vast majority of governments in the world are all still going in the right direction and companies in America are stepping into the breach.”

He added that the advancements in clean energy over the last 15-years were amazing and would keep getting better – leading to more profits for companies and creating a more sustainable future.

“We may one day have batteries that can power a plane across the Atlantic.”

Sir Richard was joined on the panel by the Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemicals Andrew Liveris, Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation, and Lanzatech CEO Dr Jennifer Holmgren.

Presentations were made by Alex Tai, CEO of DS Virgin Racing, Dr Jon Creyts of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Lara Birkes, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Vice President and chief Sustainability Officer and Tony Milikin, AB Inbev Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer.

Alexander Moiseev, Chief Sales Officer at software giant Kaspersky Lab, used the summit to announce a new partnership with DS Virgin Racing.

The Innovation Summit was held in Brooklyn at the New Lab and dovetailed with the objective of Formula E, which is to power technology change in electric vehicles and let it trickle down from ‘track to road’.

The sport, including DS Virgin Racing, has already made enormous strides in pushing the boundaries of technology, with the range and power of the cars to have doubled by the start of next season – only its fifth.

At the current rate of development it is estimated that they will be on a par with Formula One cars within another five years.

At the same time, electric road vehicles will soon be at a ‘tipping point’ with a belief that by 2020 they will become cheaper on average to manufacture than fossil fuel alternatives.

They will also become practical, with a range of 250 miles and charging times of 15 minutes – the average time people now spend at a service station filling up and getting a coffee.

Sir Richard said that Formula E and electric vehicle manufacturers should serve as an inspiration for other businesses.

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