Bill Nye — yes, the “Science Guy” from the mid-90s — is offering his opinions on NASCAR. You know, that sport that’s still running gas cars instead of attempting to run either hybrid or electric cars? Yeah, that one.
Needless to say, Nye has some pretty progressive ideas that include switching over to electric vehicles at the NASCAR level. He published his thoughts in a blog post recently.
The cars go just crazy fast, and they are amazingly loud … or LOUD!! But beyond the heart-pounding, Are-these-cars-going-to-jump-the-barrier-and-kill-me? exciting quality of it, it’s depressing – leastways depressing for me 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 proposes that NASCAR take a more NASA approach to the world’s issues with climate change and energy conservation. He points out that the Tesla Model-S has similar torque to a NASCAR stock car, but over 300 less horsepower.
He also points out that given the same time it’s taken other manufacturers to perfect the modern day stock car, the electric model could put up similar results in the next three years.
It’s easy for me to imagine an electric racecar that completely outperforms a gas-powered competitor. Instead of refueling a gas tank, the electric racecar pit crew would change battery packs. The car would be designed to roll up a ramp. The battery pack would be disconnected and dropped out. Moments later, a fresh battery pack would be lifted into place, and off our electric racer would go with time in the pit comparable to what it takes to refuel and service a conventional gas-powered racecar.
That’s a progressive way of thinking, but would it work for NASCAR? Well, why not?
Sure, it’s an idea that’s going to upset traditional fans, but it might also change the future — and perception — of NASCAR for the better. Rather than implementing a caution clock in the Trucks Series, how about testing a new setup that might actually stick?
Opinions around the sport obviously differed widely.
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) January 26, 2016
Eventually all the manufacturers are going to want to promote electric cars anyway. Could be a trendsetter. https://t.co/U7mXg2muJg
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) January 26, 2016
I think Bill Nye the Science Guy is spending too much time snuggling with his Bunsen Burner. https://t.co/D4SBVM137n
— Dave Moody (@DGodfatherMoody) January 26, 2016
— Dana Horne (@DanaLovesRacing) January 26, 2016
Is this the future of NASCAR? It might very well be with Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota all rolling out new hybrid and electric cars every year.
Is it perfected for the top level of a professional sport? Certainly not — yet.
While it might not be something that happens this year, next year, or even before 2020. But what Nye has accomplished is getting us all talking about bringing the latest innovation to NASCAR. After all, shouldn’t we be looking at groundbreaking products at the top of every major sport?