NASCAR reveals EV race car prototype

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NASCAR on Saturday revealed a prototype electric race car with a crossover-like body, meant to demonstrate the series’ commitment to reducing emissions.

Unveiled ahead of the NASCAR Chicago street race, the EV prototype was developed by the same in-house engineers that worked on the Next Gen car now used in the Cup Series as well as the Garage 56 entry from the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans, with input from the automakers that currently participate in NASCAR, according to a press release.

The all-wheel-drive prototype is powered by three motors from Austrian firm STARD, which also supplied motors for the Ford F-150 Lightning SuperTruck that dominated the 2024 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, generating a combined 1,341 hp. Electricity is supplied by a 78-kwh battery pack.

NASCAR electric race car prototype

A body made of sustainable flax-based composite from Swiss startup Bcomp sits atop a modified Next Gen chassis, with steering, suspension, wheels, and brakes all derived from the current NASCAR Cup Series car. The braking system has been modified to incorporate regenerative braking, however, which NASCAR claims will be well suited to the shorter ovals and road courses that now make up a larger portion of the schedule.

NASCAR race cars are no longer truly stock, but they maintain road-car branding, which likely factored into the decision to make the EV prototype a crossover. This fits in with the electric crossovers currently offered by the automakers that participate in NASCAR, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Toyota bZ4X, and Chevrolet Blazer EV.

Electric or not, a crossover-like race car might be good for NASCAR to have at the rate automakers are retiring their coupes and sedans. Chevy still races the Camaro in the Cup Series despite the road car no longer being in production.

Chevrolet NASCAR Next Gen Camaro ZL1 race car

Chevrolet NASCAR Next Gen Camaro ZL1 race car

A 2022 report claimed a NASCAR electric series was in the planning stages. While no such announcement accompanied the unveiling of the prototype, NASCAR did say that it plans to zero out emissions over the next decade.

“While NASCAR is committed to the historic role of the combustion engine in racing,” a NASCAR statement said, “it is also committed to decarbonizing its operations and reducing its own carbon footprint to zero across its core operations by 2035 through electrification and innovative solutions.”

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