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NASCAR Unveils EV Racecar Prototype, Partnership with ABB

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype car NASCAR EV race car

Photo Credit: NASCAR

Gentlemen, start your … charging?

On Saturday morning at the fan zone at the Chicago Street Course, NASCAR officially revealed their ABB NASCAR EV Prototype racecar. Along with the reveal of the race car, NASCAR also announced its new NASCAR IMPACT program, which aims to play a large role in aiding the sanctioning body’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2035.

NASCAR also announced ABB, a global leader in electrification and automation, as the first official partner of the NASCAR IMPACT program.

“There could not be a more optimal moment in time to announce our first IMPACT partner than in tandem with the debut of the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype at the Chicago Street Race,” said Eric Nyquist, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief IMPACT Officer. “ABB is an industry leader and will help in efforts to decarbonize our operations as we pursue achieving net-zero operating emissions over the next decade.”

Through the partnership, ABB will help NASCAR achieve public sustainability targets around electrification and electric vehicle charging in the United States.

“ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, and we help customers globally to optimize, electrify, and decarbonize their operations,” said Ralph Donati, ABB Executive Vice President. “The objective of the collaboration between NASCAR, ABB in the United States, and the NASCAR industry is to push the boundaries of electrification technology, from EV racing to long-haul transportation to facility operations.”

ABB NASCAR EV Prototype Car Specs

As for the racecar, which was originally scheduled to be revealed at the LA Memorial Coliseum in February before Mother Nature intervened, it is a Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV), that has a body made of a flax fiber composite. The car weighs in at 4,000 lbs., roughly 500 lbs. heavier than the current NASCAR Next Gen race car, which competes in the NASCAR Cup Series.

The ABB NASCAR EV Prototype features a 110″ wheelbase, a steel tube chassis with bolt-on front clip and front/rear bumpers, and the car is equipped with a 78 kWh battery source. As far as the powertrain, the all-wheel drive ABB NASCAR EV Prototype has three STARD UHP 6-Phase motors, one in the front, and two in the rear.

In a recent test at Martinsville Speedway, David Ragan, who has been the test driver of the vehicle, said the car was able to go roughly 50 laps on a charge around the 0.526-mile paperclip. Ragan states that due to the location of the battery pack, which is on the right side floorboard, the weight ratio of the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype is very similar to the current NASCAR Next Gen race car.

“I think they did an outstanding job having the kinematics of the car similar,” Ragan explained to TobyChristie.com. “The geometry of the car is similar. The bump steer, the caster, camber, you know, the things that have been the same for the last 75 years of racing, a lot of those things were very similar.”

The main differences from behind the driver’s seat according to Ragan are the level of acceleration, deceleration, and the overall lack of engine noise.

The car was developed in collaboration with Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota — NASCAR’s Current OEM partners — by the NASCAR engineers that produced the NASCAR Next Gen car and Garage 56 race car, which competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last season.

What does this mean?

Before everyone panics, this prototype reveal is not meant to serve as an announcement of an overhaul of the current NASCAR Next Gen race car. NASCAR and their OEM partners reiterated in an availability that the Daytona 500 will for the foreseeable future feature combustion engines, and will have loud throaty American muscle car sounds.

While this car was not revealed as a replacement for the NASCAR Cup Series race car, the sanctioning body also says that the reveal of the car also isn’t an announcement of a NASCAR EV Racing Series.

“At this point, I would say it’s probably premature for me to speculate on that,” John Probst of NASCAR said in regards to a NASCAR EV Racing Series. “We’ve worked with our OEM partners to figure out what that would look like, but that’s down the road.”

While there could be news on a NASCAR EV Series down the road in the future, NASCAR stressed that at this time the reveal of the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype is simply meant for NASCAR to showcase the technological innovation that is possible with the car.

For the OEMs, it allows them to educate the NASCAR fanbase about the ever-growing line of EV cars available in the production car marketplace.

Photo Gallery

Here are several different looks of the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype race car courtesy of NASCAR.

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