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NASCAR unveils prototype electric race car

CHICAGO — Five months after rain prevented its public debut, NASCAR unveiled the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype, but officials are quick to note that this is just a beginning and not a sign that any of its national series will showcase an electric car.

“If you look out across the landscape, one thing that’s for certain is that change is accelerating all around us,” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president and chief racing development officer.

“We, from a NASCAR perspective, want to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to where our future is going. … One of the things you’ll see out of the Next Gen (car) platform, not just this year but over the years that come, is that you’ll see us experiment with a lot of different powertrains.

“Today, obviously, we have the combustion engine. There’s a long, long road ahead for the combustion engine, be it powered from sustainable fuel or hydrogen for that matter. That’s something else that we’re very interested in. But then, there’s obviously also the electrification side of that via hybrid.”

NASCAR also announced Saturday that ABB, a global leader in electrification and automation, has joined it in creating the ABB NASCAR Electrification Innovation Partnership.

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype 4.jpg

The ABB NASCAR EV Prototype was tested by former Cup driver David Ragan.

Bradley Barnes

ABB becomes the first official partner of NASCAR IMPACT, the sanctioning body’s platform driving NASCAR’s mission to strengthen its communities and contribute to a healthier planet. ABB also will help NASCAR achieve public sustainability targets around electrification and electric vehicle charging.

NASCAR has a goal reducing its carbon footprint to zero across its core operations by 2035.

The electrified stock car has three STARD UHP 6-Phase motors (one in the front and two in the rear) supplying power. Anchored by a 78-kWh liquid-cooled battery, the tunable powertrain can produce 1,000kW at peak power. Regenerative braking converts kinetic energy into power. Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota collaborated with NASCAR in this project.

The body sits on a modified Next Gen chassis and the steering, suspension, brakes and wheels all derive from a current Cup car.

The car weighs about 4,000 pounds. The current Next Gen car weighs about 3,500 pounds. The ABB NASCAR EV Prototype is 56 inches tall, about 6 inches taller than the Next Gen car.

The car has run three times with David Ragan as the driver. The car was scheduled to make its public debut Feb. 4 before the Clash at the Coliseum but that was scrapped when the event was moved up a day due to impending storms in Southern California. Ragan has tested the car at the Coliseum, Martinsville and Charlotte.

Ragan said testing went smoothly.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to what the future holds with NASCAR and the different manufacturers and kind of what their vision is,” he said. “Had a lot of fun and I’m sure there’s more fun stuff down the road.”

NASCAR Battery Electric Vehicle Prototype Specs

Length / Width / Height: 185.5” / 78.6” / 56”

Wheelbase: 110”

Weight: ~4,000 lbs

Body: Generic CUV body styling made of flax fiber composite

Chassis: Steel tubing w/bolt-on front clip and front/rear bumpers

Powertrain: 3x STARD UHP 6-Phase motors (AWD: 1x Front and 2x Rear)

Voltage Level: 756 VDC max

Energy Content: 78 kWh

Cooling: Water glycol

Steering: Rack and pinion

Suspension: Double wishbone billet aluminum control arms w/adjustable coil over shock absorbers

Brakes: Six piston monobloc front calipers / four piston monobloc rear calipers – heavy duty disc package

Wheels: 18” x 12” forged aluminum

Tires: Goodyear Racing Eagles