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Everything We Know (So Far) About NASCAR’s Electric Vehicles

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The talk about NASCAR going electric has simmered under the surface of the NASCAR media world in recent years, and every now and then, it bubbles to the top. So, this begs the question: Exactly what is going on with NASCAR’s foray into electric cars? What will they look like? How will they sound? What are the future plans and how involved are the current OEMs?

There are a lot of questions and not too many answers. Here is everything we know (so far) about NASCAR’s new electric vehicle experiment and what fans can expect going forward.

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The OEM Factor

It’s no secret that NASCAR, in the last several years, has been trying to attract new manufacturers to the sport. Various OEMs bring in more cash and more support and the thinking is that having a new manufacturer join NASCAR will help the sport move forward towards a bright future. But the truth is that NASCAR is still quite a long way away from introducing a new OEM into the fold.

Late last year/early this year (conveniently timed) it was rumored that Dodge was going to re-enter the sport. However, talks seem to have broken down from there and now mum’s the word.

For a new manufacturer to want to enter NASCAR they need to feel as if it is a good investment to market their brand. The policy of NASCAR has long been “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” and while that mantra has somewhat fallen by the wayside in recent years, there’s still some truth to it.

NASCAR refuses to up the horsepower, something drivers and fans have been clamoring for because it would be too expensive for the OEMs and they don’t really gain much from that. NASCAR being a stock car racing series, the cars on the track have to somewhat resemble what the average consumer can buy off the showroom floor at their local dealer. A Ford Mustang isn’t going to have 700 horsepower engines so why would the OEMs then want to invest in such for a racing series?

As brought up by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his podcast The Dale Jr Download, the racing series needs to matter to the manufacturers. With the growing emphasis on clean energy and electric vehicles, it would make sense for the OEMs to want electric vehicles to enter the ranks of NASCAR.

In a November 2022 discussion on potential new OEMs entering the sport, NASCAR President Steve O’Donnell said the following:

It was part of the reason we went to the Next-Gen platform was to drive interest. As you know, there’s a huge push for electrification and where’s that going and how would that fit in for where our platform is. So, it’s one of the reasons, we’re open to that as well, to attract new OEMs.

Steve O’Donnell

It’s not currently known who is involved in the creation of this new NASCAR electric vehicle or its purpose in the long term. Just bet that the OEMs had something to do with the development of this car in some fashion or another.

Is The All-Electric Series Still in the Works?

In late 2022, it was rumored that NASCAR was interested in creating a new electric-powered car to run alongside the NASCAR Cup cars for the weekend of the Busch Clash as soon as 2023. The idea, then, was to run a 6-race exhibition-style season throughout the rest of the year as somewhat of a test run with electric vehicles. That, obviously, did not happen and, by the time February of 2023 rolled around, the higher-ups in NASCAR deemed the project still “a work-in-progress”.

At the time, many fans breathed a sigh of relief, maybe even believing that the all-electric series had died in development hell and would never see the light of day again.

Things were quiet for the most part on this front throughout 2023. That was until early November when President, Steve O’Donnell gave his State of the Sport address during Championship weekend at Phoenix. When asked about EV, O’Donnell said the following:

Yeah, a lot of work’s gone on at the R&D department around EV.

We have a car. We have an alternative body style with that car. I would not look for us specifically to go racing with it. I think you could see it showcased at certain events next year. But there’s other forms that we want to look at.

Steve O’Donnell

This would seem to support the “work-in-progress” statement from earlier in the year and, as of this writing, there are seemingly no plans to go racing with NASCAR’s new electric vehicle in 2023. But, obviously, they’re working on it for a reason, and, to many fan’s disappointment, the future of NASCAR is looking more and more electric than the day before.

The Car and December Testing

In late November, photographs of the proposed NASCAR EV car were leaked online to a lot of scrutiny. You can see the pictures of the car in JettMDK’s video below where he discusses. Be sure and give that video a little love.

NASCAR subsequently confirmed plans to test this new EV stockcar this December at Martinsville Speedway. However, specific details regarding the test have yet to be revealed. Considering the controversy over this move, it would make sense why NASCAR would choose to keep it on the DL.

Conclusion

There you have it, Daily Downforce readers! That’s everything we know about NASCAR and their foray into electric vehicles. Whether we like it or not, electric cars seem to be a reality in NASCAR’s future. To what extent may not be entirely known but that’s certainly the direction in which we are headed. So, what are your thoughts on this inevitability? Are you okay with an all-electric series as long as the big 3 nationally touring series aren’t touched? Do you hate the idea entirely? Do you love it and think NASCAR should wholeheartedly embrace electric cars? Let us know what you think on all of our socials.

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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