Air Race E, the “pure electric motorsport” air racing competition, has presented its first plane during the recent Dubai Airshow. This race place it looks very similar to the “conventional” racing and aerobatics aircraft we have gotten used to seeing. However, this one features an entirely electric twin motor made by Contra Electric Propulsion, delivering a maximum continuous power of 150kW. That would be enough to take the e-plane to top speeds of 300 mph (483 km/h), which will hopefully generate enough thrill to capture an audience and form a follower-ship around the sport.
What is designed to cross the finish line FAST, using clean technology? It’s Condor Aviation’s modified Cassutt aircraft, unveiled @DubaiAirshow as the 1st @AirRaceE airplane. Airbus is providing insight & research for teams in this all-electric plane racing championship. #DAS19 pic.twitter.com/xJHO9kokaY— Airbus (@Airbus) November 17, 2019
The plane is pretty small, so it can’t go on without a recharge for long. The 20 kWh array of lithium batteries that hide under its fuselage weighs 220 lb (100 kg), and are good for 5 minutes of race flying, or 10 minutes of regular flying. This should be more than enough for the completion of a race session anyway, so the first contender has set the bar pretty high. The next airplane to be presented for the Air Race E will come from the University of Nottingham’s Aerospace Technology Centre, and there will be a total of eight contenders by next year.
The first electric air race will take place on November 19, 2020, at an undisclosed location. The official founding partner of the race is Airbus, so the whole project is solidly backed. No host cities have been announced yet, but the circuit has been revealed already. The eight planes will compete in a circular circuit that is 1.5 km end-to-end and is defined by inflated pylons. The pilots will do 10 laps of 5 km each, and the first one to cross the finish line wins.