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Airbus-backed tournament unveils first electric racing aircraft

Dubai

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 carmaker 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. It will use an electric motor that will carry it at flight speeds of around 482 kmh on a tight 5 km circuit, just 10 metres above the ground. "The racing series will provide a test bed for innovation and accelerate the journey towards electric commercial travel," Air Race E CEO Jeff Walkman 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. REUTERS

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