NASCAR shows off its first electric vehicle prototype

Credit: NASCAR

NASCAR has made itself a rich legacy through the use of petrol-powered internal combustion engines for decades. But a shift in the world’s landscape of powertrains from a consumer and entertainment standpoint is now making its mark on what was once the fastest-growing sport in the United States.

Years past the era of Earnhardt, Gordon, Johnson, and numerous others, NASCAR is taking on a new challenge: dealing with the fact that electric powertrains are becoming more mainstream.

Not only are people buying EVs for environmental reasons, but they’re also high-powered and high-performance, something that race fans across the globe want.

Speed is the name of the game in NASCAR, just like any other racing promotion. However, NASCAR is looking to dip its toe in the development of battery electric vehicles (BEV), and it unveiled its first-ever prototype this weekend at the Chicago Street Race in Chicago, Illinois.

Developed by Swiss start-up Bcomp, the vehicle utilizes the company’s ampliTex™ technical fabrics in conjunction with powerRIBS™. These are inspired by the vein structure of leaves, which helps with strength and sustainability, which was a main focus of the vehicle’s body:

The body of NASCAR’s first-ever BEV prototype uses flax-based composites to be environmentally friendly. It helps reduce CO2 emissions by 85 percent with similar stiffness and improved safety in motorsports thanks to a “breaking behavior” that avoids sharp shattering.

Bcomp’s Key Account Manager of Automotive and Motorsports, Johann Wacht, said:

“We are thrilled to be entering this important phase with NASCAR with whom we have a strong shared vision for sustainability. This collaboration is Bcomp’s first major US motorsport project, and we are excited to demonstrate together with the NASCAR IMPACT team how racing can pave the way for sustainable innovations, enabling benefits for wider society further down the road.” 

NASCAR officials are encouraged by what is being offered, as VP of Vehicle Design Brandon Thomas said:

“Integrating sustainable innovations into the design process helps set the standard for sustainability across our industry and supports forward progress towards the company’s sustainability goals and targets.”

NASCAR wants to achieve net zero operating emissions by 2035 and set a series of five-year sustainability targets. These go past vehicle operations, as all owned tracks and offices will use 100 percent renewable energy.

Although it has not said it will dive head-first into EVs, NASCAR has teased prototypes in the past, and they’re extremely similar to what the company unveiled this past weekend.

In January, a leaked image showed a similar body style with a high-set spoiler, and it sent rumors through the stock car circuit. Nevertheless, it could be an indication of what is coming, but from our perspective, don’t look to see this be included in a NASCAR promotion anytime soon.

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NASCAR shows off its first electric vehicle prototype
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