World’s first electric boat race series launches

The UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series, the first ever electric-powered boat championship, launched last week in Monaco and hopes to bring the electric vehicle revolution to our seas and lakes to help protect the health of marine environments, according to Euro News.

“The earth’s oceans, lakes and rivers are under huge environmental pressure from fossil fuel spills and plastic pollution,” says Series co-founder, Alejandro Agag. This new clean form of boat racing will “lead the way in electrifying water mobility for future generations.

“Right now, the use of electric power on the water is still at an embryonic stage. My ambition is for the E1 Series to accelerate the adoption of electric boats, to demonstrate how exciting they can be and to promote electric solutions and clean water mobility to marine travel worldwide.”

Agag is branching out from his former ventures in electric motorsport racing as the creator of the Formula E and Extreme E.

Extreme E is an off-road electric car racing series which uses sport to raise awareness of global climate issues. Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton recently announced that he will be entering a team into the new motorsport which is to begin in January 2021.

The championship events take place in locations that are under threat from global warming.

The E1 boat series will run in direct association with Extreme E and includes races in a number of the same locations. Each venue will be on a city waterfront and feature charging stations, which will be left behind for local owners of electric boats to use in future, according to Euro News.

Former aerospace engineer, Rodi Basso, who has worked with NASA, Ferrari, Red Bull in Formula 1 and McLaren, will serve as the E1 circuit’s CEO. Basso told Robb Report that, as an avid sailor, he always loves the “magic moment” after shutting off the engine and hearing only the wind in the sails. He wants to recreate a similar experience in the electric powerboating sector, with a much wider-ranging impact. “There are so many lessons in electric technology that could be transferred to the marine industry,” he says.

The series’ futuristic-looking race boats were designed by Sophi Horne who was inspired by the Stormtroopers’ Speeder Bikes from the Star Wars movie, reports Euro News. The battery powered RaceBird boats have a small cockpit, hydrofoils and electric motors beneath the surface and will be capable of reaching 69mph. They are being developed by UK start-up SeaBird Technologies.

Basso says that hydrofoils made the most sense because of their efficiency compared to raceboat hulls running in the water, according to Robb Report. The foils also allow for instant turns.

E1 World Electric Powerboat Series will be working closely with SailGP. “It’s a very open and collaborative agreement that will add value to our group,” says Basso. “They’re a well-oiled machine that will give us an incredible platform to start from.”

Race Day Live reports that E1 has the exclusive licence from UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) to promote the UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series for the next 25 years.

Due to Covid-19 concerns, the first races will start in 2022, though the organisers said the first RaceBird prototype will be completed by next June. The series hopes to attract up to 12 teams with two boats each, one based in Europe and the other to travel to other races around the world.

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