NASCAR Unveils New Prototype Racer That Swaps V8s For Volts

The iconic V8 oval racing series of NASCAR has just showcased a prototype EV race car as part of its green push. 

While the V8 burble has historically been the soundtrack of NASCAR, this may very well soon change in the future. Such is as the iconic American oval racing motorsport has recently revealed its EV prototype race car, which as its rather unimaginative name suggests has swapped its V8 for some volts instead. 

The EV prototype of NASCAR’s has been developed in collaboration with ABB and its OEM partners Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. Responsible for putting the whole thing together meanwhile fell to the motorsport’s in-house team that was previously responsible for the Next Gen car that is now used in the Cup Series, as well as the Garage 56 entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  

Now propelling this EV prototype is to be a tri-motor all-wheel drive powertrain setup, with two of the three STARD UHP 6-Phase units used residing across its rear axle. Peak combined power output from all three motors is currently quoted by NASCAR at a very motorsport-worthy 1,360 PS, with said motors to in turn be getting its power from 78 kWh liquid-cooled battery pack. 

As for the rest of the car, the all-electric powertrain has been stuffed within the confines of a unmodified Next Gen chassis. The components required for the car stop, roll and steer have meanwhile been lifted straight off the NASCAR Cup Series racers, albeit the notable addition of a regenerative braking system and custom Goodyear Racing Eagle tyres.

Similarly notable too is for the body of this EV prototype departs from the sedan style that is so synonymous with this oval racing motorsport, and instead is to currently be of a generic crossover shape, to likely better represent the cars most people are actually buying these days. In fact, some might say that it looks not entirely unlike the electric crossovers currently offered by the automakers that participate in NASCAR, namely the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Toyota bZ4X and Chevrolet Blazer EV.

Another interesting tid-bit worth highlighting regarding its body shape is for this EV prototype to sport a rear wing, for the first time since in NASCAR since its Car of Tomorrow era that ended in early 2010. The panels of this all-electric racer is also to be made from a sustainable flax-based composite, which is to serve as an eco alternative to the current carbon fibre material. 

Just for those who see this EV prototype as the boogeyman to their historically V8-powered sport, NASCAR has reiterated that it is still to be ‘committed to the historic role of the combustion engine in racing.’ It is also highly likely that given this is all but a working concept thus far, any eventual electrification creeping into the motorsports will be a long time coming yet. 

This EV prototype nevertheless represents a first concrete step into NASCAR embracing electrification, with the preview of it incidentally coming in the same weekend that hybrid powertrains made its IndyCar racing debut. The American oval-racing motorsports body has also pledged to offer more on-site electric vehicle chargers and use 100% renewable electricity at their racetracks and facilities by 2028, as part of its wider green initiative.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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