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NASCAR Reveals its First Electric Car

A decade after the all-electric Formula E was established, NASCAR wants to jump onto the electric bandwagon with its first electric race car. This was showcased in downtown Chicago on Saturday. So what is this about? Let us see.

Collaborative Affair

Electric NASCAR will be in collaboration with Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, and electric parts company ABB. The product focuses on high-performance EVs and will test how much fans are interested in electric racing. The semi-retired NASCAR driver David Ragan was the first driver. They plan to drive the car on the Chicago street course for some laps on Sunday morning. 

Ex-driver's Review

Ragan mentioned that the sound and smell were unlike anything he had ever experienced since he began racing at age 11. He could hear the squealing of tyres and smell the brakes. In gasoline-powered cars, the noise and odour from the engine and the heat from the exhaust dominate. However, after hundreds of laps this time, his ears weren't ringing. He described it as a wild experience.

About the Car

While racing events generally use sports coupes, the new EV is a crossover utility vehicle. To make this aerodynamic, they have added a massive rear wing. It accelerates nearly twice as quickly as the top gas-powered race cars and can stop almost instantly. However, its lap time at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia was two-tenths of a second slower because it takes corners more slowly due to its heavier weight. Ragan mentioned it might go even faster; he wasn't pushing the unique vehicle to its limits. He noted that risk-taking is for racing, not testing.

What A Top Executive Said

Talking about the EV, Eric Warren, who heads global motorsports competitions for General Motors, claimed that market research revealed that more than half of avid NASCAR fans that were surveyed would be interested in purchasing an electric car if they see it being used in racing. He said the main message was taking care of energy and optimising it. He further said that they are committed to electric vehicles. He added "Racing gives a great platform to discuss many of those concepts and educate fans. It's a laboratory for us to try some new technologies and learn as we educate."

EV not only option

EVs are not the only alternative that NASCAR is considering. By 2028, they plan to introduce sustainable racing fuel, recycle at all events, and use 100% renewable electricity at their facilities and tracks. By 2035, it aims to reduce operating emissions to "net zero."

Would you watch an electric NASCAR race?

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TopGear Magazine July 2024