Electric powerboat race coup for Kingdom

Electric powerboat race coup for Kingdom
The partnership is aligned with Saudi Arabia’s goals to invest in 13 key strategic sectors, including sports and entertainment. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 June 2021

Electric powerboat race coup for Kingdom

Electric powerboat race coup for Kingdom
  • Saudi investment fund teams up with E1 Series to launch inaugural world championships

JEDDAH: First came Formula E at Diriyah, bringing grand prix thrills to the Kingdom without the gasoline. Then came Extreme E, taking racers off the track and into the Saudi desert.

Now electric engines are taking to the water — and Saudi Arabia is leading the revolution. The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, and electric powerboat series E1 have teamedup to launch the first electric speedboat world championship.
The inaugural event is planned for 2023, with the Kingdom as one of the potential venues.
“This exciting investment in a new premier sport format aligns with our strategy to enable innovation globally and unlock new industries as well as build strategic partnerships with real value add to Saudi Arabia,” PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said.

The partnership was announced at a virtual event where E1 also launched the new electric RaceBird powerboat that will race in the championships. They can reach a speed of 110 kph and have a battery time of up to 20 minutes.

“With the new design of the RaceBird powerboat that you see today, we hope to accelerate change in the marine industry and provide sustainable solutions for future leisure craft,” E1 boss Alejandro Agag said.

Local marine experts are backing that prediction. Danni Rosa, founder and chief executive of Blue Limits Marine, told Arab News: “The impact from such partnerships will be huge. This could change the public’s perspective and break away from the traditional gasoline mentality.

“With PIF’s backing and the location of the race in the Kingdom, you can be sure that many changes to the industry will take place, and many manufacturers will convert their production lines to accommodate electric boat manufacturing.

“PIF is sending a clear message that such races are achievable and can be enjoyable, and the conversion to electric powerboats will contribute to reducing pollution and hazardous environmental impacts, protecting the marine ecosystem.”