If NASCAR embraced electric cars it could change the world

Aeon: I have roots in the southern United States. My mom was from Durham, North Carolina, and my sister, nephew, nieces, spouses, their exes, kids and more kids live in and around Danville, Virginia. Around there, it’s a big deal to go to the races. The boys of various ages, and occasionally some of the girls and women, will pile into vehicles to go see races in South Boston or other tracks nearby. I’ve been to the track in Martinsville – the ‘paper clip’ – which is still the shortest track on the NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) circuit. It’s less than a kilometre long, only half a mile. But it is exciting. The cars go just crazy fast, and they are amazingly loud … or LOUD!! But beyond the heart-pounding, Are-these-cars-going-to-jump-t he-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.

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