Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

NASCAR reveals electric prototype, no commitment to racing it

NASCAR's electric prototype breaks cover, is described as a window into "what our future could be" without any commitment to race

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype

Photo by: NASCAR Media

NASCAR has formally unveiled its electric prototype at its Chicago street race event, but don’t expect to see it in any national series anytime soon – or perhaps ever.

The ABB NASCAR EV Prototype has been so named in deference to NASCAR's new partnership with Formula E's title partner ABB, the first official partner of its “NASCAR Impact” initiative, and is illustrative of the sanctioning body’s commitment to showcasing new electrification technologies.

However, the multi-year research and development effort that went into the EV Prototype's construction does not mean NASCAR will abandon combustion engines.

NASCAR’s senior vice president and chief racing development officer John Probst said: “Today, obviously, we have the combustion engine. There’s a long, long road ahead for the combustion engine, be it powered from sustainable fuel or hydrogen for that matter. 

“Then there’s also the electrification side of that via hybrid. They’re on hybrids (in the IMSA SportsCar Championship). Today we have battery electric.

“As you know, we look towards net zero operating emissions for us by 2035, so at this point, I’m not sitting here saying we’re going to announce a series. That’s not what this is about.”

The prototype was developed in collaboration with NASCAR’s OEM partners – Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota – and was built by the same engineers responsible for the creation of the current Next Gen car used in the Cup Series and the Garage 56 entry which was run in last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype

Photo by: NASCAR Media

The electrified stock car, which has been track-tested several times with former Cup driver David Ragan its primary driver, has three STARD UHP 6-Phase motors (one front, two rear) supplying power directly to its bespoke Goodyear tyres.

Anchored by a 78-kWh liquid-cooled battery, the tuneable powertrain can produce 1,000 kW at peak power. Regenerative braking converts kinetic energy into power, which could make the car ideal for road courses and short oval tracks.

The all-wheel drive car has a generic crossover utility vehicle (CUV) body made of sustainable flax-based composite. It sits on a modified Next Gen car chassis and the steering, suspension, brakes, and wheels all derive from the current Cup car.

Probst said the EV prototype is about “exploring what our future could be”.

“We built this car, we put it on track. That is our point, is to learn,” he said.

“We’ll have a story tell as we learn. And we’ll be in the driver’s seat wherever our future takes us.

“If you look out across the landscape, one thing that’s for certain is that change is accelerating all around us.”

Probst believes the creation of an all-electric racing vehicle opens the door for NASCAR and manufacturers to explore many ideas once thought impossible or unlikely.

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype

Photo by: NASCAR Media

“It’s certainly an opportunity for us to evaluate this,” he said.

“If you launched this and we immediately launched a new series, it’s a lot of pressure to maybe get it wrong. 

“You see it with the OEM’s a lot; they put out prototype cars at car shows and judge the reaction from the fans and decide whether they want to go in this direction or do we want to go in that direction.

“It’s also a way for us to work with them and discover where do we want to be. The entire landscape of powertrains in general are in an incredible state of change.”

“NASCAR Impact” is NASCAR's plan to reduce its own carbon footprint to zero across core operations by 2035. It plans to source 100-percent renewable electricity at its owned race tracks and facilities by 2028, expand waste diversion efforts, and on-site EV charging stations.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article NASCAR Cup Nashville: Logano stretches fuel to win in five overtimes
Next article What next for NASCAR's popular female hope?

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe