NASCAR debuts electric race car prototype ahead of Chicago Street Race

NASCAR on Saturday unveiled a prototype electric race car as part of a new initiative that aims to reduce the organization’s emissions and electrify aspects of the sport.

The initiative represents a key push toward sustainability that is seemingly at odds with the legacy of stock car racing, but aligns with NASCAR’s long-term goal of reaching net-zero operating emissions by 2035.

The vehicle’s debut, in partnership with the electrification and automation company ABB, came one day before NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race.

The “ABB NASCAR EV Prototype,” developed in collaboration with Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, is an electrified stock car that can produce 1,000 kW (or 1341 horsepower) at peak power. Like most existing hybrid or full-electric vehicles, the race car has a regenerative braking system that converts kinetic energy from braking into electrical power.

ABB officials said NASCAR’s plans to decarbonize its operations and reduce its carbon footprint go hand in hand with the wider energy transition taking place in the United States.

“This partnership gives us a platform to talk about the issues that are happening in our country and the direction that we are all taking together as a nation,” said Chris Shigas, head of communications at ABB in the U.S.

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While there are no plans to ditch the combustion engine in stock car racing, the initiative may explore possibilities around high-performance electric racing, officials said.

Both organizations will also work to identify aspects of NASCAR racing competitions, certain race track and office operations and long-haul transportation that can be electrified.

“We’ll be looking at all of their operations — everything from their long-haul trucking to the golf carts that run around the tracks to EV charging,” Shigas said. “This is a multiyear partnership that has opportunities to really become a showcase of how not only NASCAR, but companies across the United States can make their operations more sustainable.”

Last year, NASCAR announced a commitment to reach net-zero operating emissions by 2035. It included prioritizing 100% renewable electricity at owned race tracks and NASCAR facilities, expanding on-site EV charging stations and developing a sustainable racing fuel.

Eric Nyquist, a senior vice president at NASCAR, said in a statement that the organization’s partnership with ABB “will help in efforts to decarbonize our operations as we pursue achieving net-zero operating emissions over the next decade.”

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