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Electrification coming to next generation cars, but that doesn’t mean hybrids

NASCAR has always been about the business of working with automakers to test new ideas and concepts that could be used in production line vehicles but when fans hear the word “electric” they get spun out for fear of losing the roar of a 550 hp carbureted racing engine.

Like it, or not, the implementation of electricity involving the engine is coming to stock car racing but maybe not in the way it is being feared, said NASCAR President Steve Phelps, in a roundtable discussion Friday with the sport’s media.

“It is not a hybrid series, it just will have electrification to it,” Phelps told Kickin’ the Tires, when asked for clarification. “I would suggest that most racing series around the world are going to electrification, if they are not there already. It will be an engine that isn’t hybrid but will have some electrification to it.”

While NASCAR fans may not realize it, there have been many advances in the auto industry that have come from the racing world. That isn’t likely to change moving forward, especially with regards to engine performance and efficiency. Federal law now mandates that car manufacturers meet stricter fuel efficiency requirements, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2025, those requirements are that new passenger vehicles meet the equivalent of 55.3 miles per gallon. Although there have been some reductions proposed, the automobile industry is moving forward to reduce emissions and the reliance on fossil fuels.

Phelps said ideas being proposed as NASCAR moves for its platform include energy storage.

“It will be an engine that will almost certainly produce 550 horsepower and energy storing electrification, that in some cases, when you’re under braking, will provide more horsepower, which will help the short tracks and road courses,” he said.

Kickin the Tires