In 2023, a new E1 Series will showcase foiling, 50-knot electric race boats on a worldwide stage. The full-size prototype of the RaceBird was unveiled in Monaco in 2021. With foiling wings and 150 kW of power, it should top 50 knots.
With its long nose, wings and enclosed cockpit, the 24-foot RaceBird is sleek and aerodynamic, like a fighter jet. Similar in shape to Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing and sporting foiling technology straight out of the America’s Cup, this vessel is different than any race boat ever conceived, especially in terms of propulsion.
Designed by 29-year-old Sophi Horne, the RaceBird resembles something out of a science-fiction novel, yet the designer said she was inspired by the birds she watched off the coast of her family’s home in Grebbestad, Sweden. “I was overlooking the water all the time, seeing the seabirds gliding so peacefully over the water. It just made sense to take inspiration from nature,” she says. “Going full into the concept, I was trying to develop something futuristic and cool, but with the seabird in mind as well.”
The RaceBird will land in 10 locations around the world in 2023 as part of a new electric-powered racing series called the E1. Launched by the founders of Formula E (similar to Formula 1 but with electric-powered supercars) and Extreme E (an electric-powered off-road series that travels to events around the globe on the St. Helena, a converted 344-foot royal mail ship), E1 will debut the advancements in electromobility to a broad, global audience.
The E1 Series will launch in 2023, demonstrating sustainable marine power at events in both waterfront cities and remote areas like the Arctic.
The RaceBird is expected to top 50 knots as racers compete through a series of time trials in a head-to-head knockout format. A single pilot will operate the RaceBird as it rides above the surface on a pair of foils to lessen drag and create a high level of efficiency. The electric motor under the cowling will be supplied by Integrated Powertrain while Mercury Racing will use its expertise and partnerships to take the outboard to the finish line so it is fully operational, with steering and a jackplate type mechanism that moves the engine up and down as the boat gets up on the foils.
E1 hopes to coordinate five of the E1 races with Extreme E in locations such as Greenland, using the St. Helena to ferry the boats and support teams with a minimal carbon footprint. The other five events will take place in waterfront cities. Basso says they’re in talks with 70 different cities, including several in the United States, that are interested in hosting an E1 stop.
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