Why An All-Electric NASCAR Series Is A Step In The Right Direction

Electrification is the way to go – for both public roads and racetracks. One of the most renowned disciplines in motorsport, NASCAR, seems to have adopted the inevitable electric future. Kickin’ The Tires have unearthed details on NASCAR showcasing a prototype electric vehicle ahead of the 2023 Busch Clash set to take place at the Coliseum.

Furthermore, NASCAR will showcase this prototype in a racing series, which is likely to be aligned with the Cup Series events. NASCAR is yet to confirm the new electric racing series. But Kickin’ The Tires reports that a leaked document suggests a new electric NASCAR series is possible shortly.

In the statement, NASCAR said it is currently exploring the potential of a race series dedicated to electric vehicles since they are the future of mobility solutions. Even NASCAR Chief Operating Officer, Steve O’Donnell, hinted at this development during a press conference back in March 2022. In this press meet, O’Donnell said that NASCAR is planning an ‘exhibition series’ involving electric vehicles.

NASCAR also added that it is currently in talks with OEM partners and racing teams for a concrete plan. Among these OEMs, names like Ford, Toyota, and Chevrolet are the front-runners. There’s also a possibility of Dodge making a comeback in NASCAR with this exhibition event with its upcoming electric muscle car.

If all the proposed plans go past the prototype stage, then we are in for an exciting and controversial phase of NASCAR. It is going to be a bold move for both the authorities and the stock car teams to come up with EVs at par or even better than the current fire-breathing monsters. The controversial part will rise with the absence of aural drama. But whatever comes forth, it sure will be exciting and intriguing to watch.

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Timeline And Conditions Of The Electric Exhibition Event

The image showcasing the event details also reveals the conditions to be followed during the event. The demonstration of the electric vehicle prototype, followed by participation of this electric vehicle in the 2023 Busch Clash at LA Coliseum, will take place in the third quarter of 2023. A total of six venues will be aligned with the Cup Series events for the new electric vehicle race. For this, two 30-minute races will occur per weekend – one each on Saturday and Sunday.

A total of 12 vehicles will be allowed to participate in the event, with three-four vehicles from one car manufacturer. The lap time targets for these electric vehicles will be the same as cars based on NG ICE platforms. In addition to these details, other conditions related to these events for electric vehicles have also come up.

Firstly, no battery swaps and charging of vehicles will be allowed, though its implementation will go under evaluation in Phase 2. Secondly, participants will be allowed to use non-competitive pit stops for tire replacement and fixing mechanical damages.

Goals Of The Event – ​​A New Direction, But The Same Tradition

With this new event planned with electric vehicles, NASCAR aims to head in a new direction without compromising on the traditional virtues of the event. The prime goal of this new exhibition series will be to raise awareness of the potential of all-electric performance vehicles among the fans of NASCAR. It will help NASCAR evaluate the changing interests, acceptance, engagement, and entertainment people expect from NASCAR.

NASCAR also hopes that this new event will demonstrate and focus on the high-performance capabilities of electric vehicles over ICE vehicles. It will help more people be aware of the benefits and performance of an electric vehicle over a vehicle with an IC engine. NASCAR will use all these learnings gained in the 2023-24 exhibition series to carve a better and evolved plan for the National Series of 2025.

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Specifications Allowed For The Participating Vehicles

For the new-generation electric vehicles participating in the first exhibition series, NASCAR has set a few pre-requisites to get fulfilled. While the suspension and brakes of the vehicles can be retained from their Cup Series versions, the chassis of these vehicles should have revised front and rear clips.

NASCAR has taken this decision to accommodate the new powertrain and battery set-up. The conditions set for the powertrains of these electric vehicles for the Phase 1 include all-wheel-drive, maximum DC Voltage of 900V, use of up to three motors with more than 1000 hp, and power generation unit of 200 kW.

This demonstration event might use the approved Cup Series bodies of the vehicles. However, there’s a possibility that the carmakers might use SUVs too, given the rising popularity of SUVs like Ford Mustang Mach-E, Toyota bZ4X, and the all-new Chevrolet Blazer EV.

However, final decisions related to car bodies will be on the carmaker. Also, given that electric powertrains make negligible sound, NASCAR is evaluating the possibilities of sound, for which it is seeking inputs from the carmakers. NASCAR seems to have already charted out all its requirements and planning.

In addition, some developments and inspiration might come from Formula E and Electric Production car racing series, both approved by the FIA. Both these events have witnessed gradual success and popularity in recent times, and NASCAR is hoping to gain the same with this new event in the future.

Source: Kickin’ The Tires

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