• Air Race E will see eight electric planes compete against each other in pylon races. (Airbus)
    Air Race E will see eight electric planes compete against each other in pylon races. (Airbus)

Airbus announced this week that it has entered a partnership to establish the world’s first electric aeroplane race.

Airbus is the Official Founding Partner of Air Race E, which aims to launch its inaugural race series next year. Eight electric-powered airplanes will race directly against each other on a tight 5-km circuit at 30 feet above the ground.

The competition aims to drive the development and adoption of cleaner, faster and more technologically-advanced electric engines that can be applied to urban air mobility vehicles and commercial aircraft.

“We want to motivate manufacturers to showcase their technologies across the full spectrum of electric propulsion systems and components.” said Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer of Airbus. “This partnership enables us to demonstrate our commitment to staying at the leading edge of electric propulsion and developing a new ecosystem.”

Air Race E CEO Jeff Zaltman said: “We couldn’t be happier or more optimistic for success with Airbus as our Official Founding Partner. This partnership is a significant milestone in the evolution of electric power in aviation. Together, we’re working to create a mainstream platform in which innovation in electric propulsion can be developed, nurtured, and accelerated more rapidly.”

Airbus will work alongside other Air Race E partners, including the University of Nottingham. The University is currently developing a prototype race airplane powered by an integrated electric motor, battery, and power electronics system. The plane will help shape the model and rules for the inaugural Air Race E race in 2020.

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