From NASCAR to E-CAR
I grew up just down the road from Daytona Florida.
That means I was raised on NASCAR. It was an annual ritual to go watch the Daytona 500.
I still remember the awestruck feeling, the first time I walked through the tunnel up to the race wall. The cars roared past at 200 miles per hour. They were so close to one another, it was door handle to door handle.
The force of wind from the cars pushed me back a step. They seemed to make endless left turns to the finish line.
The Daytona 500 is the ultimate display of fossil fuel power. With up to 750 horsepower engines that get a whopping 2 to 5 miles per gallon as they scream past the crowd. This adds up to some serious carbon impact.
A single NASCAR race has 40 cars that run for 500 miles. Using a conservative 5 miles per gallon of gas, that’s about 6,000 gallons burnt per car per race. Each gallon burned releases around 20 pounds of CO2, so that’s about 120,000 pounds of CO2 for a race. Multiply that by roughly 35 races per year, and NASCAR’s annual carbon footprint is about 4.2 million pounds.
Enter the world’s first net-zero carbon sport.
Race fans packed the streets of Portland as they watched a Formula car race speed through its streets. This Formula event was not your typical car race. It was part of the Formula E race circuit, the world’s first net-zero carbon racing circuit.
Instead of gasoline, the cars are electric. They go just as fast but are much greener. The goal of Formula E is to accelerate change towards an electric future, one race and one city at a time.
The important part is that the race pushes the development of new technologies. As the teams compete for the top spot, they innovate, and that’s good for the industry. The technology you see in these cars today will be used in the cars sitting on the showroom floor tomorrow.
With each season, the cars are becoming more efficient and faster thanks to new advancements in materials, motor, and battery technology.
If you think this Formula E is just a gimmick look again. With companies like Nissan, McClaren, NIO, Maserati and Jaguar leading the charge in these races good things are sure to come.
James Barclay of Jaguar sees it as key,
“Motorsport has always been at the forefront of technology and at Jaguar, we use Formula E as a real- world test bed. Together the team test, develop, learn and collaborate, sharing insights across Jaguar Land Rover which will benefit future road car development. These learnings are key as Jaguar is reimagined as a pure electric luxury brand from 2025.”
Has change come fast enough to make a difference today?
I bought my first Electric Vehicle two years ago. Over that period, I watched the landscape change dramatically. The largest change came in the number of cars being offered to the market. Every carmaker has one, two, or even three electric offerings today.
And while the numbers increase, there were no dramatic improvements in the technology.
Two years back when I was on the market for an electric car the models that were available (meaning I could drive of the lot that day) was really limited. Since that time the market has exploded with electric vehicle options. Every car commercial during the last Super Bowl was advertising a new electric car.
Beyond just more car options not a lot has changed. Sure, slightly range and marginally improved charging times. But the problems I have raised in the past still exist.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my electric vehicle but still only for the reasons I bought it in the first place. It is my go-to vehicle for everything short and mid-range.
This summer, when we packed up the family to do the long drive to grandma’s house, it was still in the gas guzzling SUV.
The electric charging infrastructure isn’t available for an easy and fast family friendly trek across the country. These are the same problems I previously wrote about, and I feel the industry is still struggling to solve.
The car manufactures were so focused on getting vehicles to market that the underlying infrastructure and operation needs were not being addressed. And it goes well beyond the issues with having a robust charging infrastructure.
It’s funny because one of the selling points for an Electric Car is that they are maintenance free. It is just a computer on wheels. Just change the tires and brakes on occasion and you are good to go. Well buyer beware because sure there is not oil to change or the complexities of a combustion engine but there will be issues that need to be resolved.
For example, I had a safety recall issued for my vehicle in March of 2023. Of course, out of concern I immediately called the dealer to schedule the recall service. I was told that they are unable to do it at that time, but they would be in touch.
After a little more digging, I find out that the dealer only has one person on staff who is qualified on electric vehicles and does not have the training to perform the recall service.
Then I get a letter from the Manufacture in June 2023 that states, “Right now, your dealer does not have the recall remedy information available to perform the recall work…”
I bring this up only to let you know if you are in the Electric Vehicle Market to ask a lot of questions to the dealer.
Unlike electric vehicle first companies like Tesla, a lot of legacy car makers are jumping into the market. Sure, they can pop out an electric car, but they may not provide the after sales support.
I still have big hopes that soon I won’t think twice about loading the family in my SUV electric vehicle for our annual pilgrimage to grandma’s house.
Until then I will watch the sport of Formula E and wait for the advancements to trickle down to our everyday life on the road.
For the Good,
Interested reading more about my electric journey check out these previous The Grove articles: The Roar of the Engines, NOT! My EV Story, EV Charging, Easter Eggs and Range Anxiety, A Day in the Life of an EV Driver and Home on the Range – My EV Story
Numbers to Know
The number of horsepower for the biggest most powerful engine in the world.(ZME Science)
The year of the first organized car race. It was a 50 mile reliability test from Paris to Rouen, France, and was won with an average speed of 10.2 mph. . (Britannica)
The current land speed record for a car. The Thrust SSC turned in an average run of 763.035 mph. So fast that the sonic boom knocked pictures off walls, triggered the sprinklers in the schoolhouse and set of car alarms over ten miles away.(Guiness World Records)
Most ESG funds take conventional mutual funds as their baseline the tweak according to ESG criteria. Those that stay closest to their conventional peers are called “broad ESG” funds. These funds are prone to accusations of greenwashing because their capital allocation only slightly deviates from conventional funds. (The Conversation)
It’s easy to understand the underlying appeal. Putting your savings into “good” companies, rather than those amoral profit-seeking entities, feels righteous. But it’s worth unpacking what that means in practice. (Oilprice.com)
Video Of The Week
Feel the need for speed?
Welcome to Formula E the closest, most intense racing series on the planet.