RaceBird: the first foiling electric boat is here

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racebird e1 series

7th April 2022. San Nazzaro. Italy.
Pictures of the E1 Race Series ‘RaceBird’ RB01. The foiling electric race boat shown here testing for the first time.
Photo by Lloyd Images

The first RaceBird has been launched. It’s the prototype of the electric foiling boat that will be racing in the world championship of this class, the E1 Series.

Before seeing what this boat looks like, a quick digression. If we think of a race on water, the America’s Cup is the main event, capable of attracting the attention of millions of fans. If, in addition to the challenges at sea, we add the technological development of the boats, the speeds they reach, the construction with high-tech materials and the various behind-the-scenes events, the “old jug” is in fact the most popular sporting showcase among boat races. A bit like Formula One in cars or, more recently, Formula E.

While the former has always been on the crest of a wave, the latter is also experiencing a major development, steadily increasing its base of spectators and fans with 316 million viewers between 2020 and 2021. What does all this have to do with the RaceBird? Well, the mastermind behind this championship is Alejandro Agag, the former founder of Formula E, who together with co-founder Rodi Basso is aiming to apply the success already achieved by the motor racing version to water. How will he do it? With cutting-edge, electrically powered and foil-equipped boats. A mix between the America’s Cup of recent years and Formula E? Not quite. More like a new vision of motor racing on water, which has lost a lot of appeal in recent years. According to Formula E statistics, around 7 out of 10 spectators are under 35 years old. Is this not the right vision to bring young people into motor racing?

RaceBird goes in the water. The E1 Series gets closer

With Class One powerboat champion Luca Ferrari on board, the first tests of the RaceBird have been carried out. The foil-equipped electric powerboat prototype of the E1 Series has been tested in Italy, on the Po River in San Nazzaro.

The test programme, which will continue over the coming weeks, will consist of straight-line testing, qualifying and race simulations, with a focus on set-up and performance analysis. In this way data will be collected in relation to foils and course handling in different racing conditions. RaceBird engineers have conducted several technical tests and checks of the on-board systems. This will verify the overall performance and reliability of the model and its electrical components.

racebird e1 series

7th April 2022. San Nazzaro. Italy.
Pictures of the E1 Race Series ‘RaceBird’ RB01. The foiling electric race boat shown here testing for the first time. Photo by Lloyd Images

E1 championship organisers are also considering the various elements required for the races such as the buoys (including autonomous ones), the width of the turns, the positioning of the on-board cameras that will be used to transmit images during the race and much more. Meanwhile, there is less and less to go before the start. The debut of the first season of the E1 World Championship is scheduled for spring 2023, i.e. in a year’s time.

The RaceBird in detail

RaceBird is the vision of Norwegian designer Sophi Horne with technical support from Brunello Acampora and Victory Marine’s marine engineers together with SeaBird Technologies. RaceBird is powered by a 150 kW Kreisel battery and a Mercury Racing outboard engine; the boat lifts quickly on foils with the benefit of instant tacking and acceleration.

RaceBird, how E1 Series innovate the boating industry

“This is a pivotal moment,” says Alejandro Agag, Co-Founder and President of E1, “in the history of the E1 World Championship. We are now one step closer to making electric racing on water a concrete reality. It closely reminds me of the same moment we experienced in the early stages of Formula E and Extreme E: this is another of those pivotal moments in the history of these sports. Seeing RaceBird race on water is confirmation to me that we can use this exciting new sporting platform to drive technological innovation in the marine industry and create something spectacular for fans in the cities we visit.”

racebird e1 series

7th April 2022. San Nazzaro. Italy. From left Rodi Basso, Sophi Horne and Alejandro Agag.

“It is a great thrill for me too to see RaceBird on the water for the first time,” says Rodi Basso, Co-Founder and CEO of E1, “and the same can be said for everyone who has worked on this project over the past few months. It has taken a lot of teamwork to finally get to this moment and it would not have been possible without the help and support of our partners Victory Marine and SeaBird Technologies. Special thanks also go to Kreisel and Mercury Racing for the work they did in preparing the battery and outboard engines. This test is the first page of a new chapter in the electrification of the marine industry, where our role is to accelerate the development of future technologies for the benefit of aquatic ecosystems.”

Discover more about E1 Series.


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