Electric boats, it’s getting serious. Here is the world’s first championship: the E1 Series!


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Credit: Lloyd Images / E1 Series

We are there now. After the announcement in September last year at the Yacht Club de Monaco now it’s time to get serious. The date chosen to unveil the star hull of the world’s first electric-powered powerboat is no accident and comes 24 hours ahead of World Oceans Day. Yes because in this case there is more than just the sports component.

E1 Series, the world championship of electric boats

The UIM E1 World Electric Powerboat Series also aims to raise awareness of environmental protection and not just the marine environment. It is confirmation, should there be any need, that sports is now an extraordinary channel of communication for bringing important social issues to attention. A vision this shared by Alejandro Agag and Rodi Basso the real drivers of this initiative.

“I am happy to announce this important step forward in water sports,” commented Alejandro Agag – We believe that this new series will succeed in engaging not only an audience of sportsmen, boating and new technology enthusiasts from around the world, but also of all those who care about the preservation of the oceans and the future of our planet,” commented Agag nonexecutive chairman of the E1 Series as well as founder of Formula E and Extreme E.


“Currently, the use of electric propulsion on water is still at a development stage – Agag added – My ambition with the E1 Series is to accelerate the deployment of electric boats, demonstrating how exciting they can be, and at the same time promote solutions in the field of electric and low-emission propulsion to sail around the world.”.

Alejandro Agag – Credit: Lloyd Images / E1 Series


At his side as co-founder and CEO is Rodi Basso an Italian former aerospace engineer who has worked with NASA before and in Formula 1 with Ferrari (he was Rubens Barrichello’s car engineer) and Red Bull in Formula 1, and in the hi-tech sector, with Magneti Marelli and McLaren Applied Technologies (Boats to Motor will publish an exclusive interview with Rodi Basso in the next issue due out in late June).

“The sea for me is one of the most important expressions of nature, it is a place where I always go to recharge my batteries, so this project is the perfect way to celebrate it,” commented Basso. “Throughout these 20 years of automotive competition, I have always dreamed of being able to make automotive competitions a sounding board for new technologies and then transfer these solutions to other areas. With this championship, we aim to accelerate the adoption of electric technology in the marine industry by introducing the enormous technological advances and expertise gained in auto racing. We will produce a compelling and exciting sports show that will appeal to millions of fans around the world.”, Basso finally added.

Low Rhodes – Credit: Lloyd Images / E1 Series

The unstated goal is to repeat the success achieved by Formula E, which has not only succeeded in bringing the fascination of motor racing to the heart of cities but has become, above all, an extraordinary research platform for the automotive industry to experiment with increasingly cutting-edge solutions on the electric propulsion front. A line between the asphalt and the sea that will be further reduced with the arrival of the E1Series. The marine industry although with other logics and dynamics is also experiencing a moment of epochal transition with the topic of electrification increasingly at the center of the strategies of both shipyards and major marine engine manufacturers. And a decisive boost at this time of transition could come precisely from the world championship of electric-powered powerboating, which bursts onto the scene bringing new life to a sport that has ended in worrying lethargy in recent times.

Racebird the 60-knot electric (foiling) boats of the E1 Series

The makings of spectacular races are all there. Starting with the RaceBirds. This is the name given to boats designed to race the world championship. Designed by SeaBird Technologies, a British start-up founded by Sophie Horne, they resemble X-Wings, the fighter planes featured in Star Wars. Futuristic hulls that also have an Italian soul. Brunello Acampora’s Victory Marine was involved in the development and engineering of the boats, and for the occasion he called on the experience and expertise of two such stars as Luca Ferrari, a pilot with a respectable resume in powerboat racing, and Mario Caponnetto whose contribution proved successful in several America’s Cup campaigns.

Alejandro Agag - Credit: Lloyd Images / E1 Series
From left, Alejandro Agag, Sophie Horne and Rodi Basso – Credit: Lloyd Images / E1 Series

Yes, because the other news is that RaceBirds in addition to electric propulsion will be equipped with foils that will literally make them fly over water. The project involves 12 teams, each with 2 boats: one will race in Europe while the other will be aboard the St Helena, a refurbished former Royal Mail Ship that will be used as a “floating paddock” for races outside Europe. Drivers in the E1 series will ideally have diverse backgrounds: some will come from existing powerboat championships while others will make a transition from electric road vehicles to marine vehicles.

Each E1 race weekend will include testing and qualifying, followed by a series of knockout races concluding with a final. Cumulative season scores will be decisive in electing the world champion. Success in the race will depend not only on the boat’s speed in different situations, but also on the pilot’s ability to dose energy to cope with the races. Charging will indeed be unlimited for testing and qualifying each weekend but for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals the supply will be limited. But now fasten your seat belts and enjoy the show.




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