NASCAR Shocks Fans With Electric Prototype Debut: What You Need to Know

During a reveal at the Chicago street race event this weekend, NASCAR has introduced the highly anticipated ABB NASCAR EV Prototype, a state-of-the-art electric stock car that sets a new trajectory for the sport’s technological evolution. This unveiling marks a significant step in NASCAR’s continued partnership with ABB, a leader in the Formula E circuit and a primary collaborator in NASCAR’s “NASCIColor Impact” initiative.

John Probst, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, characterized the debut of the all-electric prototype not as the precursor to an all-electric series but as a pivotal experimental venture. This development signifies a collaborative effort spanning several years with major OEM partners including Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota, and was engineered by the adept minds behind both the Next Gen Cup Series cars and the Garage 56 entry for Le Mans 24 Hours.

The technical stats of the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype are nothing short of impressive. It features a trio of STARD UHP 6-Phase motors – one in the front and two in the rear, delivering immense power directly to its specially designed Goodyear tires that can take the torque created from such a powertrain. At the heart of its setup is a 78-kWh liquid-cooled battery, capable of producing a staggering 1,000 kW at peak power. But power wasn’t the only objective of this design. Sustainability has unsurprisingly also taken center stage, with ABB incorporating a flax-based composite in its construction and using regenerative braking to feed energy back to its battery stores.

Testing the waters of electric power, former Cup driver David Ragan has been instrumental in conducting multiple track tests with the prototype. Through these tests, NASCAR aims to glean valuable insights that could shape the potential creation of future electric racing frameworks. As part of a broader strategy, NASCAR’s Impact Initiative aims to achieve net-zero operating emissions by 2035 and power all NASCAR-owned facilities with 100% renewable electricity by 2028.

The ABB NASCAR EV Prototype is a snapshot of the future of the sport. It was revealed Saturday morning ahead of the Chicago Street race.


Probst said the following on the reveal:

“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. Then there’s also the electrification side of that via hybrid. They’re on hybrids in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Today we have battery electric.

“As you know, we look towards net zero operating emissions for us by 2035, so at this point, I’m not sitting here saying we’re going to announce a series. That’s not what this is about.”

The introduction of this prototype serves as a laboratory for NASCAR and its partners to gauge and adapt to evolving automotive technologies. “If you look out across the landscape, one thing that’s for certain is that change is accelerating all around us,” Probst remarked. “We built this car, we put it on track. That is our point, is to learn. We’ll have a story tell as we learn. And we’ll be in the driver’s seat wherever our future takes us. It’s certainly an opportunity for us to evaluate this.”

While the unveiling of the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype is a monumental step forward, Probst clarified that this is not an immediate prelude to a new racing series but an exploration driven by curiosity.

“If you launched this and we immediately launched a new series, it’s a lot of pressure to maybe get it wrong.”

He concluded:

“It’s also a way for us to work with them and discover where do we want to be. The entire landscape of powertrains in general are in an incredible state of change.”