July 25, 2024
SUVs & Crossovers

NASCAR unveils new battery-electric prototype boasting 1,341 horsepower

In 2022, NASCAR unveiled a series of sustainability objectives. A year later, the NASCAR Impact initiative established an interim target of achieving 100% renewable electricity sourcing at all organization-owned tracks and offices, with a long-term goal of reaching net zero operating emissions by 2035. As part of this initiative, a new electric prototype based on the Next Gen chassis has been introduced. The prototype features bodywork made from flax-based composites and a design resembling a low-slung crossover. Collaboration with current manufacturers Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota influenced the choice of a CUV form factor.

The Next Gen car saw a reduction in length to 193.4 inches, a slight decrease in roof height to 50.4 inches, and an increase in span to 78.6 inches, all intended to give the cars a more coupe-like appearance. Conversely, the EV prototype has a width and wheelbase identical to the Next Gen car, but with a reduced length of 185.5 inches and an increased roof height of nearly six inches to 56 inches.

The bodywork of the EV prototype was crafted by Swiss company Bcomp using its proprietary PowerRibs structure and AmpliTex technical fabric. While flax-based composites are slightly heavier than carbon composites, Bcomp asserts that the production of organic composites emits 85% less carbon than its synthetic counterpart. The EV prototype is reported to weigh around 4,000 pounds, approximately 500 pounds more than a traditional gas-powered Cup car.

ABB, a Swedish energy company and primary sponsor of Formula E, partnered with NASCAR on clean energy initiatives and assisted in developing the prototype’s powertrain. The powertrain includes a 756-volt electrical system and a 78-kWh liquid-cooled battery positioned on the right side of the floor for similar handling dynamics to a gas-powered car. The motors, supplied by Austrian firm Stard, deliver a total of 1,341 horsepower, with one motor on the front axle and two on the rear.

The powertrain also incorporates components from Cup Series cars, such as rack and pinion steering, double wishbone suspension, and regenerative braking on the Cup Series brakes. NASCAR believes the regenerative braking system enhances performance on road courses and short oval tracks. Test drives at Martinsville Speedway suggest the EV prototype can complete approximately 50 laps on a fully charged battery.

While there is no definitive timeline for a NASCAR EV series, an executive indicated that discussions with OEM partners are ongoing. It remains uncertain when an EV series might be introduced, but NASCAR is actively exploring possibilities with its partners.

FAQ

Q: What are the sustainability goals set by NASCAR?

A: NASCAR aims to achieve 100% renewable electricity sourcing at all organization-owned tracks and offices, with a target of net zero operating emissions by 2035.

Q: Who collaborated on the design of the EV prototype?

A: The design of the EV prototype was a collaborative effort between NASCAR and current manufacturers Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota.

Conclusion

With the introduction of the electric prototype based on the Next Gen chassis, NASCAR is taking significant steps towards sustainability and innovation in the motorsports industry. The development of eco-friendly technologies and the exploration of electric racing demonstrate NASCAR’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact while staying at the forefront of automotive advancements.

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