NASCAR Goes Electric – No, It’s Not What You Think


CHICAGO – As part of the festivities during 2024 NASCAR Chicago Street Race event in Chicago this past weekend, NASCAR unveiled a prototype EV.

Let me start this post by assuring you, if you’re an old-school racing fan who can’t stand race cars that don’t roar, that NASCAR is NOT to have its Cup cars go EV. At least not anytime soon.

You may have heard that NASCAR will be replacing the Cup cars with these crossover-looking EVs, but it was pretty clear from the press conference that that’s not the case. Be careful what you believe from social media – and check sources. Perhaps you should pay more attention to a trusted Web site like this one than a random Twitter/X user with a lot of numbers in their username.


Maybe, maybe, NASCAR could run a separate series that’s all-electric, but even that seems a long way off. Officials were quite clear that the announcement of the prototype didn’t mean the announcement of a series and that it didn't mean that any current series was going EV.

It certainly does appear that this prototype is meant to be a test bed for the technology, and nothing more.

NASCAR has worked with ABB, a company that has already been working on electrification in Formula Two racing, and the same OEMs it works with for Cup cars, to develop this prototype. Those OEMs, of course, are Ford, GM, and Toyota. It’s no coincidence that a Mustang Mach-E and Toyota bZ4X and a Chevrolet Blazer EV were parked behind the NASCAR prototype when the cover came off.

The engineers behind this test mule are the same ones who worked on the Next Gen cars and the Garage 56 Le Mans entry.

ABB becomes the first company to officially partner with NASCAR IMPACT, which is a division of NASCAR dedicated to working on community outreach and technology that is more environmentally friendly.

NASCAR IMPACT is also working on an app that will help veterans and service members anonymously seek help for mental-health issues.

NASCAR says it wants to reduce the carbon footprint of its core operations to zero by 2035 – though it also says its “committed to the historic role” of the combustion engine.

The EV prototype has three electric motors – two in the rear and one in front – and a 78 kWh liquid-cooled battery. With electric motors front and rear, it’s all-wheel drive, of course.

Its peak power is 1,000 kW and it has regenerative braking. The chassis a modified version of the Next Gen platform, with the steering, suspension, brakes, and wheels all coming from current Cup cars.

Even if NASCAR keeps the combustion engine alive until either the government forces them to stop using it or it becomes impractical, the company is smart to at least spend some time learning about electrification.

There’s no need to clutch your pearls yet, V8 fans. NASCAR can walk and chew gum at the same time – in this case, learning about racing electric vehicles while still fielding cars that are old-school.

[Images © 2024 Tim Healey/]

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