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Bill Nye: NASCAR Should Use Electric Cars

speaks onstage during "How Creativity Fuels Science With Steve Aoki And Bill Nye" at The Fast Company Innovation Festival on November 10, 2015 in New York City.
Barritt, Craig—Getty Images

They'd be quieter, greener -- and maybe even faster.

Electric cars aren’t nearly the hot commodities they used to be in the $4 a gallon gasoline days. With gas shockingly cheap, averaging less than $2 per gallon, the fire under driver’s butts to ditch the old technology is nothing more than an ember, for now at least.

Many people aren’t exactly happy about this backslide of interest, especially Bill Nye. Recently, the science educator and former mechanical engineer blogged with an interesting solution for electric car awareness: NASCAR should use them.

“It’s a celebration of old tech,” he writes of modern stock car racing. “It uses gasoline-burning instead of electron-flowing. I wish NASCAR were more like NASA.”

Nye wants to see NASCAR being part of the fossil fuel solution, as it were, not part of the problem, setting an example for the country. While many might consider the smell of gasoline to be an integral part of motorsports, Nye makes a convincing argument using the incredible power of electric motors. A Tesla Model S, Nye says, can produce impressive torque and horsepower compared to a typical NASCAR vehicle, and it’s not even designed or set up for racing. If an electric car were to be adapted, like NASCAR adapts gasoline cars, the results could be awesome. (The Tesla Model S’s 2.8 second 0-60 sprint is amongst the world’s fastest accelerating production cars.)

According to Nye, an electric NASCAR scene “would be faster, and quiet. You could talk to the person next to you. The drivers could probably hear the roar of the crowd rather than having to imagine it as they do now.”

As you might imagine, many NASCAR fans aren’t too thrilled about this nontraditional idea. Besides the racing and driving, the smells and sounds are a big part of the sport and to remove them would be devastating to the culture and enjoyment.

It seems obvious that this unrealistic change would alter NASCAR significantly, and probably alienate its fans. But perhaps something this drastic would bring more people to the track? With gas staying this cheap for the foreseeable future, we may never find out.

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