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Revving Up for a Revolution: NASCAR Teases Electric Future with SUV Prototype Amidst Hybrid Hesitation

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Is the NASCAR circuit preparing to welcome electric vehicles or perhaps hybrid models? During the recent Chicago Street Race this past weekend, NASCAR unveiled a prototype of an all-electric SUV to the amazement of those present.

It's quite unexpected, considering the racing series hasn't made the switch to hybrid technology. NASCAR continues to feature races with fuel-consuming, noisy V-8 engines and cars that are rear-wheel drive with manual transmissions installed at the back.

Although the group isn't hinting at a complete shift to electric vehicles in the upcoming year or even in the next ten years, the prototype certainly hints at their consideration of a future where NASCAR might make that transition.

The experimental electric vehicle designed for NASCAR features a four-wheel drive system, operating with three six-phase engines, with one located at the front and two at the rear, capable of delivering over 1,300 horsepower. It runs on a quartet of Goodyear Racing Eagle tires. A battery pack with a capacity of 78 kilowatt-hours supplies energy to the car, which also focuses on regenerative braking technology, a feature NASCAR believes makes the car perfectly suited for road racing circuits and smaller oval tracks.

Prototype of an electric racing car for NASCAR competitions

The vehicle's structure is constructed from an eco-friendly composite created from flax, and its steering, suspension, braking system, and wheels are all sourced from existing racing vehicles.

The initial model was created in collaboration with ABB, a provider specializing in charging and automation, who has now become the racing championship's principal associate for environmental initiatives, actively participating in both Formula E and F1 competitions.

The journey to power the "stock car" with electricity

Despite the initials "S" and "C" in NASCAR representing the term stock car, the vehicles used in the organization's races bear little resemblance to mass-produced automobiles.

In 2022, a significant shift occurred when the introduction of the Next Gen car brought modern updates to the racing vehicles, aligning their parts more closely with those found in standard production vehicles, at least in terms of individual components. As part of this upgrade, the outdated solid-rear-axle design was replaced with a more contemporary independent rear suspension system.

NASCAR seems to be caught in a tough spot, having committed to making its racing series more environmentally friendly, despite the apparent lack of interest from its fans in this change. When unveiling the NextGen car, NASCAR hinted at the possibility of integrating a hybrid engine by 2024. However, that change seems to be delayed, with predictions now pointing towards a 2027 rollout. This is in spite of the fact that the current race vehicles are designed to resemble electric models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Toyota bZ4X, and Chevrolet Blazer EV.

The trend of utilizing vehicles that don't emit pollutants as pace cars is not a recent development. Back in 2012, the Ford Focus Electric made history as NASCAR's inaugural electric vehicle to serve as a pace car, followed by the Toyota Mirai in 2015. Furthermore, there were NASCAR racers who advocated for electric vehicles prior to

In the spring of 2023, the leading stock car racing organization, NASCAR, pledged to a significant environmental target, marking a new chapter in eco-friendly initiatives within the premier auto racing sector in the United States. This ambition involves neutralizing the carbon emissions from its primary activities within the next twelve years, aiming for a net-zero status by 2035.

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse model for the NASCAR Cup Series competition

NASCAR vehicles continue to be notorious for their low fuel efficiency, averaging about 5 miles per gallon in competitions. Throughout a racing season, it's projected that NASCAR uses approximately 2 million gallons of fuel, which is equivalent to the yearly gasoline usage of roughly 5,000 average cars (assuming 30 mpg and 12,000 miles driven).

On the contrary, vehicles in Formula E can finish a race with just under 47 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is roughly equal to the energy found in 1.4 gallons of gasoline. In comparison, a NASCAR vehicle may consume about 80 gallons of fuel in a considerably lengthier race.

2024 Edition of the Nissan GT-R, dubbed the Skyline

Is there a chance for electric vehicles to revive the "stock" concept?

Nissan also made a case recently that Formula E is becoming an experimental ground for technologies used in consumer cars, such as its e-4orce all-wheel drive system designed for electric vehicles, along with potential future high-performance uses.

The real issue in NASCAR's pursuit of becoming more eco-friendly might be if its fan base is prepared to bid goodbye to the age of fuel-thirsty V-8 engines.

2024 Model of the Dodge Charger Daytona

A pilot trial is in the works for the electric vehicle market. The 2024 Dodge Charger Daytona EV is shaping up to be the most exciting addition for NASCAR enthusiasts. This model pays homage to the original Daytona, renowned for being the first car to exceed 200 mph on a NASCAR track back in 1970. While the new Dodge EV won't emit the classic smell of gasoline, it promises an auditory thrill with its innovative "Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust" system, which uses an amplifier and a tuning chamber to recreate a powerful sound. This blend of vintage charm with modern technology could be the key to winning over NASCAR fans to electric vehicles.

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Mazda guarantees that the system, which originates from Toyota, is expected to achieve a combined fuel efficiency of up to

Lucid has announced a pair of recalls that will initially be addressed through a software update delivered wirelessly.

Records of maintenance services at GM revealed that certain models of Bolt EV and EUV were missing the diagnostic software necessary for detecting battery issues.

The lineup of Sportage Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid vehicles sees an increase in prices, with the entry-level models experiencing the highest surge. Despite this, they continue to be a good deal.

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Upcoming electric vehicles from brands such as Audi, Cadillac, Jeep, and Volvo are set to propel the next phase of the EV transformation.

Nissan's involvement in racing could lead to continuous improvements in their e-4orce all-wheel-drive technology.

Decreasing the use of gasoline and diesel is a surefire way to lower energy expenses, however, the amount saved is contingent on your location and the method of charging employed.

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