NASCAR Debuts Electric Race Car Prototype Ahead of Chicago Street Race

NASCAR unveiled a prototype electric race car on Saturday as part of a new initiative aimed at reducing the organization’s emissions and electrifying aspects of the sport.

The initiative is a major step toward sustainability. It may seem at odds with the legacy of stock car racing, but it aligns with NASCAR’s long-term goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2035.

The vehicle, in partnership with electrification and automation company ABB, made its debut the day before NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race.

The “ABB NASCAR EV Prototype,” developed in collaboration with Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, is an electrified stock car capable of producing 1,000 kW (or 1,341 hp) at peak power. Like most existing hybrid or fully electric vehicles, the race car features a regenerative braking system that converts kinetic energy from braking into electrical energy.

ABB officials said NASCAR’s plans to decarbonize its operations and reduce its carbon footprint go hand in hand with the broader energy transition taking place in the United States.

“This partnership gives us a platform to talk about the issues facing our country and the direction we are taking together as a nation,” said Chris Shigas, U.S. chief communications officer for ABB.

While there are no plans to ditch the internal combustion engine in stock car racing, the initiative could explore the possibilities for high-performance electric racing, officials said.

Both organizations will also explore which aspects of NASCAR racing, certain track and office operations, and long-haul transportation can be electrified.

“We’re going to look at all of their operations — everything from their long-haul trucks to the golf carts that go around the tracks to the electric vehicle charging,” Shigas said. “This is a multi-year partnership that has the opportunity to really be a showcase for how not just NASCAR, but businesses across the United States can make their operations more sustainable.”

Last year, NASCAR announced a commitment to achieve net-zero operational emissions by 2035. This included prioritizing 100% renewable electricity at its own racetracks and NASCAR facilities, expanding on-site EV charging stations and developing a sustainable racing fuel.

NASCAR Senior Vice President Eric Nyquist said in a statement that the organization’s partnership with ABB “will aid in efforts to decarbonize our operations as we strive to achieve net-zero operational emissions over the next decade.”

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