NASCAR to Take ‘a Look’ at Electric Series

by Caitlin Berard

Less than 4% of yearly car sales are of electric vehicles; however, the push for a more sustainable means of transportation is undeniable. With that in mind, NASCAR is “exploring some opportunities” with electric race cars. Though the main attraction would still feature traditional gas-powered cars, there could be an electric exhibition series in the not-so-distant future.

What to Know:

  • Electric vehicles are growing in popularity
  • NASCAR chief operating officer announced that NASCAR is interested in electric vehicles
  • There could be an electric exhibition series included in future NASCAR events

NASCAR COO Expresses Interest in Electric Vehicles

Upon being promoted to chief operating officer of NASCAR, Steve O’Donnell wasted no time in expressing his ideas for the future of the brand. Specifically, the idea to include electric vehicles in NASCAR events.

Though relatively new to mass production, electric vehicles have grown in popularity in recent years, and are expected to get even more popular in the near future. In fact, LMC Automotive anticipates electric vehicles to make up over 30% of new vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Knowing the future is electric, Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota have all expressed interest in moving toward EVs in NASCAR competitions, and NASCAR is listening. “We are exploring some opportunities around an exhibition series in that space,” the NASCAR COO said. “And as everyone knows, there’s a huge push across all of our (original equipment manufacturer) partners, and even potentially new OEM partners. So it’s important for us to explore that space. I think there’s a lot of interest from our current partners to be part of that.”

NASCAR Fans Are Open to the Change

As any NASCAR fan would agree, the race cars make up a large part of what makes NASCAR great. And because NASCAR has always featured gas-powered cars, it would be understandable for fans to express hesitation regarding the change. However, Steve O’Donnell says that fans are “very open” to going electric, “which is surprising to some.”

That could, in part, be due to the fact that NASCAR officials have assured fans that the shift to electric wouldn’t take away any of the fun. They understand what their fans come to see, and they’re always going to to provide it.

“We look at NASCAR as a place where, in an ideal world, we’ll be all things to all people. So if you went to a NASCAR event weekend, you could see whatever type of technologies you wanted throughout a race weekend,” O’Donnell said. “But for us, the race has to be entertaining. Our fans, they love noise. They love the sound, the feel of racing. So if we’re going to get into the electric space, I promise you, it will be entertaining, and it’ll be something that fits into our portfolio and something our fans will be proud of.”

“I’m not talking about all-electric. I’m talking about a hybrid system,” the COO concluded. “I think it’s something, obviously something that we’re exploring now with our existing three OEMs. The question is, what is it? What’s the timing of it?”