Tournament unveils first electric racing aircraft

Tournament unveils first electric racing aircraft

Condor Aviation’s modified Cassutt aircraft, unveiled Dubai Airshow as the 1st Air Race E airplane. Airbus is providing insight & research for teams in this all-electric plane racing championship. (Twitter/@Airbus)

An Airbus-backed air racing tournament unveiled an electric-powered sports aircraft on Sunday, billed as the world's first, as the European planemaker seeks to boost its green aerospace technology.

Several companies, including US ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc, are working on electric-powered flying cars, amid increasing concerns about the environmental impact of fossil-fuel intensive air travel.

Last month, Airbus rival Boeing announced a partnership with automaker Volkswagen's sports car brand, Porsche, to develop a concept electric flying vehicle capable of transporting people in urban environments.

Air Race E said the aircraft, called White Lightning and unveiled at the Dubai Air Show, will be manufactured by UK-based Condor Aviation.

The aircraft will use an electric motor that will carry it at flight speeds of around 482 kilometers (300 miles) per hour on a tight 5 kilometer (about 3 miles) circuit, just 10 meters above the ground.

"The racing series will provide a test bed for innovation and accelerate the journey towards electric commercial travel," Air Race E Chief Executive Jeff Walkman said.

Lithium batteries installed under the fuselage of the plane will provide power for five minutes of high-intensity racing and around 10 minutes of reserve flying at reduced power, the firm said.

Air Race E is aiming to be the world's first all-electric airplane competition when it launches its inaugural series of international races in 2020. It expects to this week name eight teams for its first race.