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NASCAR unveils new electric race car prototype amid its net-zero commitment

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When NASCAR fans attend a race, they are accustomed to the thunderous roar of combustion engines. However, future events might feature a quieter sound on the track. NASCAR introduced its new electric vehicle (EV) race car prototype on Saturday, July 6, at the Chicago Street Race.

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This $1.5 million vehicle is the result of a partnership between NASCAR and technology company ABB. Ralph Donati, the executive vice president at ABB, said the objective of this collaboration with NASCAR is to “push the boundaries of electrification technology.”

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Professional driver David Ragan tested the car and it was only about two-tenths of a second slower than a typical race car. The EV car is slightly slower despite having nearly double the acceleration power of an average race car. The primary challenge lies in the weight of the heavy EV batteries, which Ragan said he particularly noticed during turns on the track.

However, speed is not the only consideration for NASCAR here. The organization pledged to achieve net-zero operating emissions over the next decade, a goal it aims to reach through its partnership with ABB.

“ABB is an industry leader and will help in efforts to decarbonize our operations as we pursue achieving net-zero operating emissions over the next decade,” Eric Nyquist, NASCAR’s senior vice president and chief impact officer, said.

Although NASCAR has no immediate plans to phase out combustion engine vehicles from the sport, it could explore the possibility of adding an all-electric race to its lineup. Without the traditional roar of engine noise, NASCAR’s senior vice president suggested alternative options, such as introducing a DJ to provide a soundtrack for the event.

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[JACK AYLMER]

WHEN NASCAR FANS GO TO SEE A RACE – THIS IS WHAT THEY CAN EXPECT TO HEAR:

[CAR ENGINE]

[JACK AYLMER]

BUT IN THE FUTURE, THESE EVENTS COULD SOUND A LITTLE MORE LIKE THIS:

[EV ENGINE]

[JACK AYLMER]

THAT’S NASCAR’S NEW EV RACE CAR PROTOTYPE.

THIS 1-POINT-5-MILLION-DOLLAR VEHICLE IS THE PRODUCT OF A PARTNERSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY COMPANY ABB-

WHICH THE TWO COMPANIES SAY LOOKS TO PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF ELECTRIFICATION TECHNOLOGY.

IT LOOKS COOL – BUT IS IT FAST?

PROFESSIONAL DRIVER DAVID RAGAN TOOK THE CAR OUT FOR SOME TEST LAPS AND FOUND IT TO BE ABOUT TWO TENTHS OF A SECOND SLOWER THAN ATYPICAL CAR.

THAT’S DESPITE THIS EV HAVING ALMOST TWICE THE ACCELERATION POWER OF AN AVERAGE RACE CAR-

THE PROBLEM COMES DOWN TO SOMETHING WE’VE TOUCHED ON BEFORE – HEAVY E-V BATTERIES.

RAGAN SAID HE NOTICED IT ESPECIALLY DURING TURNS ON THE TRACK.

SPEED ISN’T THE ONLY FACTOR AT PLAY HERE THOUGH- 

NASCAR HAS PLEDGED TO REACH NET-ZERO OPERATING EMISSIONS OVER THE NEXT DECADE-

A GOAL WHICH THEY HOPE TO ACHIEVE THROUGH THEIR PARTNERSHIP WITH ABB.

WHILE NASCAR HAS NO IMMEDIATE PLANS TO RETIRE COMBUSTION ENGINE VEHICLES FROM THE SPORT-

IT COULD EXPLORE ADDING AN ALL-ELECTRIC EVENT TO ITS LINEUP IN THE FUTURE.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FAN EXPERIENCE? 

NASCAR’S SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT SAYS THAT WITHOUT THE USUAL ROAR OF ENGINES DURING A RACE- THEY MAY LOOK AT SOME OTHER OPTIONS – LIKE INTRODUCING A DJ TO PROVIDE A SOUNDTRACK FOR THE EVENT. 

BUT FOR NOW, THE ONLY THING YOU’LL BE HEARING AT THE TRACK IS THIS.

[NASCAR ENGINE]

[JACK AYLMER]

JACK AYLMER – STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.