Could NASCAR go electric?

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 22:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 22: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

I came across an interesting article this week discussing the idea of NASCAR switching to “All Electric” motors. This recommendation was given by none other than Bill Nye, the science guy.

Nye says he was “Depressed” at his last race as he watched the cars run on the technology of yesterday, rather than the technology of today like Tesla operates on.

But, is this even a relevant discussion? Isn’t part of the experience of auto racing in general the “thrill” of the motors and the “smell” of the fuel? And what about sponsorship? This would drastically destroy the gasoline and oil companies, possibly causing a major stock market issue.

So then, is there a way to do both and slowly integrate electric into full time? What if NASCAR began using electric motors in the lower series or allowed electric motors to race with the fuel of yesterday, would that be an even trade to an industry that is established?

I have to believe we are a long way away from seeing electric motor racing in NASCAR or any other major auto racing event. While brands like Tesla have changed the world, the world isn’t quite ready for “quite motors” on a racetrack. I do believe, however, that this would be an excellent opportunity for groups like Tesla to form a new style of auto racing on a more lower level. Like how ARCA is the start for NASCAR, Tesla could create their own IROC style race featuring all electric cars. That would be the best option for integrating today’s technology into auto racing, rather than shoving it down the throat of current race fans who seem to have no interest at all in electric.

The Tesla Roadster

The Tesla Roadster

Nye said in a recent interview that “NASCAR uses gasoline-burning instead of electron-flowing. I wish NASCAR were more like NASA. I wish NASCAR were more about the future instead of the past. I wish NASCAR set up Grand Challenges to inspire companies and individuals to create novel automotive technologies in the way NASA does to create novel space technologies.”

People don’t like change, but will accept new ideas over time. Rather than “all electric NASCAR”, let’s try a small circuit of electric racing until it becomes popular enough to go full time. Something like the recent “Formula E” concept or the 2013 test for Tesla in NASCAR is a good start, so long as they are their own series.

Then, and only then, will a change of that magnitude actually occur.