How different would NASCAR be if every race car was electric?
That’s exactly what Bill Nye, The Science Guy, is proposing. In a recent article written by Nye, he talks about the excitement of attending a NASCAR race but how at the same time, it’s depressing as an engineer. “Because here I am trying to envision the smart, efficient transportation technology of tomorrow, and there is NASCAR doing the opposite – celebrating a very old transportation technology of yesterday.”
Nye goes on to add that NASCAR kind of breaks his heart, wishing that instead of gasoline-burning engines, it featured electric technology. He wishes that NASCAR was more like NASA, looking towards the future instead of the past. Nye even proposes that NASCAR sets up Grand Challenges to inspire companies and individuals to create novel automotive technologies, much like NASA has done for space.
To provide a compelling argument for electric race cars, Nye points to none other than the Tesla Model S, which has become the poster child for electric car performance. A typical NASCAR is tuned to produce up to 540 pound-feet of torque, while the Tesla Model S pumps out 713 lb-ft of torque straight from the assembly line. Although a NASCAR vehicle can have upwards of 850 hp compared to the Tesla Model S sedan’s 532 figure, Nye points out that NASCAR race cars typically tip the scales around 3,600 pounds with a driver while the Model S is 1,000 lbs more.
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) January 25, 2016
“I’m not saying we should all be driving turbine engine-powered cars,” Nye said in the published article. “I’m saying racing should be about the future rather than the past. How about NASCAR becoming NESCAR (National Electric Stock Car Racing)? The sooner NASCAR (or NESCAR) embraces electric drive trains, the sooner the U.S. can be the world leader in automotive technology, and the sooner we can stop pumping carbon dioxide into the air every time we want to go somewhere to get groceries, pick up the soccer team, commute to work or watch a race.”
Perhaps Nye should turn his attention to Formula E, where FIA has embraced the idea of an all-electric race car.