Branson said he believes that the introduction of new manufacturers in Formula E next year will push development of electric road cars.

"We spend a lot of time these days looking to a world that is carbon neutral by 2050 and unless you have sports like Formula E we will never get there. It's a tremendously exciting aim and Formula E will pioneer technology which will be used on normal road cars," Branson, whose Virgin Group sponsors a two-car team in the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship, told reporters after the Miami ePrix on Saturday.

Visting a Formula E event for the first time, Branson said, "I hope 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."

Following the announcement of eight new manufacturers in Formula E next season, Branson said he is looking forward to the technical battle which faces Virgin Racing Engineering.

On how far the technology will advance, he said: "I don’t know, that’s the exciting thing about new technology. Every team next year will be working hard to beat each other and all that man power, finance and energy will produce breakthroughs and make a big difference to normal battery driven cars."

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