Long answer short: NASCAR’s 2022 Cup cars aren’t hybrids, but NASCAR Next Gen cars will soon become hybrids. The NASCAR president hopes the conversion will be complete by 2024.
Does NASCAR use hybrid engines?
For the 2022 season, NASCAR’s Next Gen cars do not use hybrid engines, they use pushrod V8s, just like previous Gen 6 cars. But NASCAR President Steve Phelps plans to change the powertrains by the 2024 season.
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NASCAR Next Gen cars still run traditional naturally aspirated pushrod V8s, as production cars have used for years. These V8 engines are built by OEMs Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet.
But at the World Sports Congress, NASCAR chairman Steve Phelps revealed that 2024 was his date for converting Cup cars to “some type of hybrid engine”. FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass reported on Twitter:
Why is NASCAR going hybrid?
NASCAR’s reasons for going hybrid are twofold. The first is efficiency. The second is to provide a platform for OEMs to advertise hybrid powertrains.
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First, race teams in Formula 1 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans have long known that a hybrid race car can stretch a tank of gas much further. With NASCAR races often coming down to a gallon or two, going hybrid seems obvious.
The second reason is that OEMs are interested in NASCAR to advertise their streetcar powertrains. The unofficial saying has long been “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. If Dodge returns to NASCAR, it will do so to showcase its new eMuscle cars. And Ford would probably jump at the chance to win a race with its PowerBoost transmission.
Asked about adding a fourth OEM, Phelps said: “I would be surprised if a new OEM came along without some kind of electrification“- according to MotorSport.com.
Is NASCAR switching to electric cars?
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NASCAR President Steve Phelps wants to have a hybrid system in place by the 2024 season, but clarified he’s “not talking about all-electric.”
A hybrid system of gasoline engine and electric motor is a proven motorsport powertrain. But a full-battery electric vehicle finishing a race for as long as the Daytona 500 at speeds approaching 200 mph isn’t possible with current electric technology.
Electric car manufacturers began competing in Formula E and the Electric GT stock car league. These leagues promise exciting races of short and medium duration, but not endurance races. Maybe we’ll soon see the Electric GT league racing on the road course and NASCAR’s medium oval tracks. But NASCAR is unlikely to go all-electric anytime soon.
According to NASCAR, Ford Performance Global Director Mark Rushbrook said the Next Gen Car would be fairly easy to convert to a hybrid. He added: “For an all-electric version there will be more changes needed, but with the bolt-on front clip and rear clip then you can have a single front clip for an electric motor version.”
Want to know more? Check out our ultimate guide to the NASCAR Next Generation car.
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