Duff Beer 1981 Jet Electrica 007 (Plymouth TC3) – Murilee Martin/24 Hours of Lemons
Increasingly, electric cars are taking to race tracks of all kinds to prove themselves not only to their own drivers and other competitors, but also to fans.
Volkswagen set a new record climbing Pikes Peak with its electric ID R that didn’t lose power to the thin air at the top.
Formula E, which aims to bring racing to the people in the stands, operates in 12 inner cities around the world because its cars have no exhaust, and now uses a single car and battery to complete between 30 and 60 miles.
Amateur electric-car racers have been taking to drag strips—often in the Teslas they drive to work every day—for years. Now the NHRA is also considering adopting a class for electric cars.
Now one of the most approachable if zaniest race series, the 24 Hours of LeMons, is planning to add electric race cars in an effort not just to prove what’s faster, but to kickstart a conversation among serious gearheads about the viability of electric cars.
That set us to wondering, which of these types of racing might be most successful at stoking interest in electric cars for ordinary drivers the street. To be clear, we don’t know the answer, and don’t expect individual readers to either. But we’re interested in our readers’ opinions in what gives them hope for the electric-car future.
What kind of racing is the best way to stoke new interest in electric vehicles?
— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) April 2, 2019
Hillclimb records are all about taking the world stage and demonstrating what electric cars can do that others cannot. Formula E is about demonstrating that electric cars can do everything that gas cars can, only do it cleanly enough that it doesn’t damage the environment for millions of city dwellers.
Drag racing shows that electric cars can do some of the same things as gas (or even nitrous oxide) can do, only do it better.
LeMons is a whole different ballgame. It has few spectators but many drivers. Teams race ancient and nearly valueless beaters that can’t cost the teams more than $500 to acquire—not counting the cost of upfitting them with safety gear and, in the case of electrics, adding batteries and converting them to electric power.