Electric Drag Racing Now Embraced By The IHRA

Black Current IIi Electric VW Dragster

Black Current IIi Electric VW Dragster

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When it comes to drag racing in the United States, the National Hot Rod Association, or NHRA, is the 800-pound gorilla that dominates the sport.

The IHRA, or International Hot Rod Association, is merely the 600-pound gorilla that sanctions events at tracks not affiliated with the NHRA, although in Canada, it's closer to the 800-pound gorilla as the sanctioning body that dominates drag racing in the country.

Canada, and the Pacific Northwest of the United States, also seem to have a strong interest in electric car drag racing, thanks to an organization called the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA).

NEDRA has been pressuring the IHRA to recognize electric cars and motorcycles as a legitimate class, and the group’s efforts have finally paid off.

Both the IHRA and the NHRA now have classes for two and four-wheeled electric vehicles in their latest competition rules.

Electric drag racers like the VW Beetle-based Black Current III or the Datsun 1200-based White Zombie are the perfect response to those who think all electric cars are slow and uninteresting, and both can serve as examples of why electric vehicles are ideally suited to drag racing.

The White Zombie has turned a quarter mile in 10.258 seconds 123.79 mph, while the Black Currant III has run a 9.51 second pass at 135 miles per hour. To put that in perspective, a Bugatti Veyron runs the quarter mile in 10.2 seconds, at 142.9 mph.

While we may be a few years off from electric drag racing as a televised sport, the inclusion by both the NHRA and now the IHRA is an important first step. If you want to see it grow, be sure to support NEDRA in its efforts to raise awareness of the sport.


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Comments (6)
  1. With essentially 100% of its torque available from zero rpm to redline electric motors are very good at delivering power to the wheels. Hopefully battery manuafacturing will create an economy of scale where prices will go down and this will lower the overall costs significantly since the battery packs for a high range battery like Tesla's $77,000 Signature Model S will run over $30,000 alone just for the battery. The only way we are going to see $20,000 EV's with decent ranges like 180 miles is if battery costs go down significantly. Give customers a decent quality EV that is comparable to ICE car in quality and range and if the price is with in $10,000 they will consider it especially with gasoline at $4.00 a gallon it will be a no brainer

  2. @Mark, that's why racing is so critical to EV development. It pushes the technology envelope, and will (eventually) result in more powerful, longer lasting and (hopefully) more affordable batteries.

  3. Kurt, I agree fully. Nothing pushes technology more than racing and people like powerful ICE vehicles so why would we want to have the displeasure of driving an ugly gutless electric freak mobile when we could have a sexy and powerful Model S. Even the Nissan leaf is nice but I for one am holding out for longer driving ranges since 75-90 miles makes it an urban commuter car and we need to think like Tesla which is the only manufacture that is making full EV's that are highway capable. If you can't drive it at least 150 to 200 miles between charges its but a mere commuter car to the average American driver since I for one have family that lives 60 or more miles away from me and I want an EV that is capable of at least 150 mile range or more

  4. @Mark, that's why the short term answer, in my opinion, is extended range electric vehicles. The Volt and the Fisker Karma aren't perfect, but they're a necessary engineering first step.

    Build one with a smaller, lighter (and more fuel efficient) ICE and a more reasonable price of admission, and I think the public could warm up to it.

  5. @Kurt, Yes a 40 to 50 mile all electric range would satisfy about 80% of Americans daily driving needs and the on board ICE would allow the car to make long interstate trips as well as making it possible to own this car as a primary vehicle. Also since the gasoline engine is only turning a generator it doesn't have to be very big and gasoline engines tend to be most efficient when operating at a rpm that is within their maximum torque range based upon their design. So in the short term until large kilowatt hour batteries become less expensive a small ICE could be used to reduce the cost of the car by making it possible to to gain most of the benifits of a full high milage range EV with a much less expensive battery pack to reduce the price

  6. @Kurt, Yes a small ICE engine could make it possible to make an extended range EV with maybe 40 to 50 miles of pure electric range. 50 miles would sastify about 80% of the populations driving needs and the small ICE engine would allow the car to be used for extended driving and would eliminate the fears of range anxiety since the gasoline engine would allow for the vehicle to operate despite the battery pack being depleted. Also Tesla's $57,000 for the 160 mile range Model S is more than most people can afford and the sweet spot would be in the $20,000 to $25,000 price range. Hopefully once more companies are manufacturing battery packs for EV's the prices will start to fall based upon competition and economies of scale comming into play.

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