The Union Internationale Motornautique (UIM), the international governing body of powerboating has announced the introduction of the first electric powerboat championship.
The UIM World Electric Powerboat Series is the brainchild of Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag, who was the founder of the Formula E and Extreme E in motor racing, as well as Rodi Basso and the UIM. Agog comments: “The time is right to bring the spectacular advances that have been made in motor sport to the marine environment. I hope to establish a new sporting classic but also to make a lasting contribution to improving the health of the seas and oceans.”
Rodi Basso, who has worked in Formula 1 motor sport and also for NASA, will take the chief executive role. “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 E1 World Electric Powerboat Series will feature high-performance boats powered entirely by electric propulsion systems on short courses around the world. The boats are being developed by Seabird Technologies, a start-up based in the UK in partnership with other companies involved in high-performance water vessels. The boats being developed for the series incorporate hydrofoil technology and will be driven by single pilots and be capable of speeds up to 60kt. The boats were designed by Sophi Horne and the concept is being developed in partnership with Sail GP, the global sailing racing league that features the fastest sailboat racing.
The plan is to attract up to 12 teams which will each purchase two boats. Each race weekend will comprise testing and qualifying and then a series of knock-out races leading to a final which will produce one winner. Success on the course will depend not only on speed in varying conditions, but also on the pilot’s ability to conserve energy.