Re-charge on a pit stop? Could NASCAR shift to electric cars?

Bill Nye writes about the benefits of auto racing with electric cars.

Imagine attending a race at your favorite NASCAR track and listening to the hum of the engines and the smell of hot dogs and popcorn in the air.  Well, that’s what Bill Nye would like the auto racing experience to be like, according to an article on csmonitor.com.

The “Science Guy” has written in a blog he thinks NASCAR should switch to all-electric vehicles for its popular racing series, partly to convince the race fans to investigate the purchase of an electric car for their own use.

Nye writes, “We could convert all of our race cars to electricity – right now – and show the public exactly what electrons can do.”  He adds all the race fans in the crowd would want to have their own electric car, and the market would go crazy.

Nye contends little would be lost to the fans if the switch was made.  The current NASCAR racer hits around 850 horsepower with its combustible engine, and the Tesla Model-S is achieving about 530 HP in its current configuration.  But Nye says, imaging what the engineers could do with regard to replacing the lost power over a period of a just a few years.

He doubts the fans would actually miss the extra power, and thinks an added benefit would be the fans could actually purchase the same vehicle they see on the track for their own personal use, minus some of the safety modifications and the ad banners, of course.

He could have a point.  NASCAR over the years has tried to slow down the cars for safety reasons, using a variety of techniques, and the competition seems as fierce as ever.  With the electric cars, pit stops would likely include a swapping out of the batteries instead of refueling with gas, as the tires were being changed.

NASCAR is already one of the “greener” sports, with plans for re-cycling the used tires and motor oil, that have resulted in saving over 120,000 tires from landfills, and the collection of enough used oil to power the Empire State Building for over a year.  Additionally, the race tracks have partnered with Coca-Cola and Coors Light to recycle over 25 million bottles and cans collected from the fans in attendance.

Nye remembers that auto racing was a place where new technology was developed when he was younger as opposed to trying to hang onto the older technology of internal combustible engines, and he wishes NASCAR was more about the future than the past.

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