Motor racing-After land and water, electric pioneer Agag has eye on the sky

FILE PHOTO: Alejandro Agag, Formula E CEO, gestures next to Michela Cerruti's Formula E car in the box during an interview with Reuters ahead of round four of the Formula E championship in Buenos Aires, January 8, 2015. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

LONDON (Reuters) - After launching three all-electric racing series on land and water, Spanish entrepreneur Alejandro Agag is considering a reach for the sky.

The founder of city-based Formula E and off-road Extreme E, with a new Saudi-backed E1 powerboat championship in the works for 2023, said on Friday he was interested in the possibilities of electric air racing.

"Yes, I have been looking at some electric airplanes," he told reporters after the announcement that McLaren Racing will join his new Extreme E series in 2022.

"The problem is the range is really short. So as soon as the airplanes are ready to be on the right time, I will get involved in electric air racing... let's wait for the technology to get there."

There are already well-advanced plans for electric air racing, with Air Race E planning a first piloted prototype flight in July or August for airworthiness and safety tests.

The series envisages eight planes racing each other around a tight 5km circuit 10 metres above the ground at speeds of up to 450kph, with competition set to start in 2022.

European planemaker Airbus is involved in the series as official founding partner and Agag has had contacts in the past with Air Race E chief executive and racing promoter Jeff Zaltman.

"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, eventually, commercial aircraft," the Airbus website states.

Airspeeder are also planning a series for manned vertical-take-off flying electric cars with remotely piloted competitions at speeds of 120kph this year before manned races in 2022.

Formula E has a central mission of promoting the use of electric vehicles and sustainability while Extreme E also has a focus on the environment and climate change by taking electric SUVs to affected areas.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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