NASCAR unveils BEV prototype with sustainable natural fiber body

NASCAR unveils BEV prototype with sustainable natural fiber body

NASCAR introduced its first prototype battery electric vehicle (BEV) on July 7 at the Chicago Street Race in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. The vehicle, with a body made of flax, is a major innovation in sustainable motorsports technology.

The BEV prototype is the first major American motorsports project to use flax-based composites, developed by Swiss lightweight specialist Bcomp. The high-performance bodywork incorporates Bcomp’s ampliTex technical fabrics and powerRibs (the latter inspired by the vein structure of leaves) to take advantage of the natural benefits of flax fibers.

“By integrating sustainable innovations into the design process, we help set the standard for sustainability in our industry and support progress toward the company’s sustainability goals and objectives,” said Brandon Thomas, VP Vehicle Design at NASCAR.

NASCAR said the project fits within its broader commitment to sustainability under the NASCAR Impact initiative, in which the organization has pledged to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2035 and set several sustainability goals for the next five years.

Bcomp’s composites are designed to provide a sustainable alternative to traditional carbon fibers. The manufacturer says they can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 85% while maintaining comparable stiffness. In addition, these composites improve motorsport safety through their braking behaviour, preventing sharp fractures – a crucial factor in bumper-to-bumper racing scenarios.

Johann Wacht, Key Account Manager Automotive and Motorsport at Bcomp, added: “This partnership is Bcomp’s first major US motorsport project and we are delighted to be working with the NASCAR Impactteam shows how racing can pave the way for sustainable innovations, which will benefit society in the future.”

Larry Perko, Bcomp US motorsports business development (North America), said: “Building on our global leadership in high-performance composites, we are excited to introduce our Race to Road strategy to the US, ushering in a new era for American motorsports. Our commitment to innovation and sustainability empowers forward-thinking American companies like NASCAR to reach new heights in efficiency and environmental responsibility.”