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Formula E boss launches World’s first electric powerboat championship

By 25th September 2020 No Comments

The tournament was revealed earlier today at a press event in Monaco.

The world’s first electric powerboat championship – the UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series ­– was launched today at the Monaco Yacht Club.

The plan is for it to be a global series, held on seas and lakes, and it will aim to drive forward the electric revolution in the marine environment.

The tournament has been created by Formula E and Extreme E founder Alejandro Agag; along with Rodi Basso, former director of motorsport at McLaren, and Dr Raffaele Chiulli President of the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM).

Agag said: “I am delighted that we are today able to announce this unique step forward in marine-based sport. We believe this series will engage not only the sporting public, and boating and tech enthusiasts around the world, but also ocean conservationists who care about the future of our planet.

“The earth’s oceans, lakes and rivers are under huge environmental pressure and the E1 World Electric Powerboat Series 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.”

The idea for the UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series came about in a brainstorming meeting between Basso and Agag in London during lockdown.

Basso said: “The sea for me is something very important as an expression of nature and somewhere I always go to re-charge my batteries, so this project is the perfect way to celebrate that. During 20 years of competition in motor racing I have always dreamt of using motorsport to demonstrate and gain visibility around a technology and then build solutions with it in other fields.

“With this championship we are going to accelerate the take-up of electric technology in the marine industry by bringing the huge technological advances and expertise from motor racing. We are going to produce a thrilling and exciting sporting spectacle that will appeal to millions of fans worldwide.”

The competition will feature high-performance racing boats powered by electric propulsion systems racing on short courses at prestigious city-based and stunning remote locations around the world.

The futuristic RaceBird boats being developed for the Series (pictured above) incorporate hydrofoil technology, will be driven by single pilots and will be capable of achieving speeds of up to 60 knots – 111 km/hr or 69 mph.

The boats are being developed by SeaBird Technologies, a start-up based in the UK that will partner with other companies involved in high performance water vessels.

The concept will be developed in partnership with SailGP, which will also provide support for event and logistics management.

SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts, said: “This is an incredibly exciting partnership that allows us to continue accelerating change toward a cleaner future. We are powered by nature, and SailGP and E1 share a similar sense of purpose to be leading examples of sustainable technology.”

The plan is to attract up to 12 teams which will each purchase two boats, one based in Europe and one that will be stored on the St Helena, a refurbished former Royal Mail Ship that the Series will use as a “floating paddock” for races outside Europe.

The content distribution deals for the UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series haven’t been announced yet, but Yanni Andreopoulos, chief marketing and commercial Officer, E1, told Broadcast Sport: “We’ll be using our existing network that we’ve developed through the Formula E and Extreme E Championships, and approaching our current partners, to get the new Series broadcast as far and wide as possible.

“Of course, this is an entirely new form of racing and a new type of Championship, so we’ll also be looking for new partners who can bring our content to different audiences. We want to reach as many people as possible, on all platforms, and will use a diverse range of content, offering our partners the best possible return on their investment. That’s the key objective of the E1 Series for our broadcast partners.”

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