NASCAR stuffs 1,340 horsepower of electric motors into prototype racer

The National Association for Stock Car Racing and Swiss multinational ABB have partnered to “push the boundaries of electrification” in the sport and beyond. The first fruit was revealed at the Chicago Street Race – a 1,000-kW EV prototype racer.

Like Formula One, NASCAR is very much associated with the roar of powerful engines and burning rubber. But just as electrification has made inroads into single-seater racing with Formula E, sustainability is motoring towards the streets and tracks of another popular motorsports series.

“While NASCAR is committed to the historic role of the combustion engine in racing, it is also committed to decarbonizing its operations and reducing its own carbon footprint to zero across its core operations by 2035 through electrification and innovative solutions,” stated the press release announcing the first official partner of its Impact program, which is described as “a platform driving sustainability initiatives across the sport.”

That partner is electrification and automation titan ABB, with the multinational expected to “play a critical role” in such things as moving facilities and owned racetracks to renewable electricity by 2028, as well installing on-site EV charging stations and other key sustainability projects.

“The objective of the collaboration between NASCAR, ABB in the United States and the NASCAR industry is to push the boundaries of electrification technology, from EV racing to long-haul transportation to facility operations,” confirmed ABB’s Ralph Donati.

The all-wheel-drive ABB NASCAR EV prototype features three electric motors that combine for 1,000 kW of peak output, along with a 78-kW battery pack
The all-wheel-drive ABB NASCAR EV prototype features three electric motors that combine for 1,000 kW of peak output, along with a 78-kW battery pack


ABB – along with industry partners Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota – has also assisted NASCAR’s Research & Development Center team in the development of an electric racing car prototype. The ABB-branded vehicle – which cost some US$1.5 million, according to the Associated Press, and was built “to gauge fan interest in electric racing” – sports a crossover body fashioned from a flax-based composite mounted to a modified Gen-7 (or Next Gen) Cup Series chassis.

It features a STARD UHP 6-Phase electric motor to the front and two more at the rear, which combine to power all four wheels – wrapped in Goodyear tires. All up, the prototype is reported capable of producing 1,000 kW of peak power, and gets its juice from a 78-kWh liquid-cooled battery pack.

There’s no mention of per-charge range or even top speed, but regen braking is cooked in and the EV racer is reckoned “ideal for road courses and short oval tracks.” The steering, suspension, brakes and wheels all trickle through from the current NASCAR race car.

The all-wheel-drive EV prototype made its official debut at the Chicago Street Race over the weekend, though didn’t race. Highlights of the Cup Series action from the windy city can be seen here, while the video below has a little more on the EV prototype.

Introducing the ABB NASCAR EV Prototype

Sources: NASCAR, ABB

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