Over the past decade and a half, alternative energy sources have become a part of the motorsports landscape. Some forms of racing use alternative fuel or hybrid power while others, like Formula E, have electric cars.
For NASCAR, they may not be going electric in the near future but if NASCAR president Steve Phelps is to be believed, NASCAR is at least entertaining the possibility of an electric NASCAR series.
In a conversation with SportTechie‘s Joe Lemire, Phelps revealed that NASCAR was open to potentially having an all-electric series and that NASCAR was “exploring options” for hybrid technology but nothing was concrete.
This doesn’t mean we’re suddenly going to see electric cars racing in the Daytona 500. NASCAR is probably discussing a bunch of things that could potentially be a thing for the future that may or may not actually happen. For example, NASCAR drivers will be racing on an iRacing version of a Chicago street course as a test for potentially having a real street race. As of now, the track isn’t on the real life NASCAR schedule but if the course proves to be a hit on iRacing and the city approves the race, you never know.
As far as having an electric series goes, it’s probably smart for NASCAR to discuss the possibility now. Manufacturers across the motorsports world have been leading the charge in wanting alternative energy sources in order to convert the technology from their race cars into their street cars. And while NASCAR is more on the entertainment side of motorsports, they are no stranger to having things in their cars that directly translates to what people drive on the road.
NASCAR has used E15 ethanol in their cars since 2011. In addition, Roush/Fenway Racing just recently announced they were the first NASCAR team to be carbon-neutral while Pocono Raceway has been using solar energy to power their track and the houses of local residents since 2010.