NASCAR green lights hybrid cars

Chevrolet has dropped all R&D on hybrids and is going 100% electric across their model lineup. How will they react to IndyCar and NASCAR going hybrid?
Chevrolet has dropped all R&D on hybrids and is going 100% electric across their model lineup. How will they react to IndyCar and NASCAR going hybrid?

Like IndyCar, NASCAR is a day late and a dollar short and their recent announcement of hybrid power units for 2022 is the latest example.

Major racing circuits, NASCAR and IndyCar series, will be introducing hybrid engines in 2022.

The switch from an all-gasoline powered engine to a hybrid gas-electric is not only environmentally-friendly, but it will also boost performance and speed while on the race track.

“Indy Car’s switching to hybrid in 2022," Fox News automotive editor Gary Gastelu said on FOX Business’ “Varney & Co." “You're still going to have an engine, but now, you’re going to have an electric motor attached to it and a battery. So when the cars brake, they get a little more energy, and then, when they accelerate it gives them a little boost." Problem is – NASCAR cars only brake when they pit.

The boost is about 150 horsepower, the equivalent of adding the pep of a 2015 Volkswagen Golf. Gasoline-powered IndyCars have about 750 horsepower, but the gas-electric models will have 900 horsepower.

Hybrid cars are also projected to generate higher performance in automotive sales. The relevance of electric cars in the market today, and its introduction to NASCAR is reportedly sparking the interest of top auto leaders.

Toyota "said they're excited about this idea because they sell a lot of hybrids," Gastelu said. “Ford, which races a Mustang in NASCAR, has a hybrid performance Mustang coming out around 2021, 2022. So it makes a lot of sense if the idea is to make the racing better and also make the cars more relevant to what you have in showrooms."

For now, hybrid integration is a slow bleed, but there’s a chance NASCAR will go full-electric in the eventual future.

“The first ones will probably only be used on the short tracks and the road courses where there's a lot of breaking," Gastelu said. “Talladega, Daytona might use the regular V8s for a while but eventually, they say, they want to go full electric."

“That's something that's interesting because Chevrolet is giving up hybrids," Gastelu said. “They're jumping to a full electric lineup. They're not even working on hybrids right now. So I'm interested to see how they're going to react to this."

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