First electric 1,340 hp ABB-NASCAR prototype debuts in Chicago

The first-ever electric NASCAR racer debuted at the Chicago Street Race last week. It was eventually set to debut earlier, in Los Angeles on February 4th, but it took a few months longer than intended.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) worked with the Swiss electrification and automation multinational ABB in what it calls its “sustainability efforts” or “NASCAR Impact.”

“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,”  NASCAR vice-president Eric Nyquist said.

Co-developed by Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota

The first electric race car was developed with Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota, carefully avoiding looks that would specifically identify one of the brands. It was created by the same engineers responsible for the ‘Next Gen car,’ known initially as the Gen-7 car, the racecar currently used in the NASCAR Cup Series, and the Garage 56 entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This prototype features three STARD UHP 6-Phase motors, one at the front and two in the rear, with a combined peak output of 1,000 kW (1,340 hp) fed from a liquid-cooled 78 kWh battery.

At the Chicago Street Race, it was demoed as part of the Cup Series with veteran driver David Ragan, apparently capable of mimicking the results of the current race car up to a few tenths of a second without pushing it to the limits.

Same base chassis and suspension

The ABB NASCAR EV shares the same base chassis and suspension beneath the composite body shell. According to ABB, the all-wheel-drive car has a generic Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) body made of sustainable flax-based composite.

“It shares many similarities with both the Next Gen and Garage 56 cars—the body sits on a modified Next Gen chassis, and the steering, suspension, brakes, and wheels derive from the NASCAR Cup Series car.” However, it won’t replace it any soon. It would be more likely to become a specific racing series for this category of vehicles.

Reducing NASCAR’s carbon footprint

ABB is a founding partner of NASCAR Impact, “an umbrella platform launched to shepherd sustainability, community engagement, and other social initiatives. At the core of NASCAR Impact is NASCAR’s plan to reduce its carbon footprint to zero across its core operations by 2035.”

“NASCAR has made material commitments to sustainable operations across its entire business. Moving operations from scope 1 (fuel burned) to scope 2 (electric) is a critical element of its sustainability strategy.”




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