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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Calling on drivers to "charge their engines," NASCAR officials announced Monday the installation of 20 Eaton Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach and corporate offices in Charlotte and the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.
Fittingly, against the backdrop of NASCAR's International Motorsports Center -- a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental and Design) Gold-Certified building -- NASCAR President Mike Helton and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy were on hand to unveil this latest initiative in the expansive NASCAR Green program.
The EV charging stations are part of a new multi-year partnership with Eaton Corporation, a Fortune 500 Company and global leader in EV infrastructure. Eaton will serve as the Official EV Charging Solution Provider of NASCAR Green.
"This partnership with Eaton Corporation is a major step forward for NASCAR Green,'' said Dr. Mike Lynch, NASCAR managing director, green innovation, strategic development. "It's really significant for NASCAR and is literally allowing NASCAR to be a demonstration platform, a validation for Eaton's electric vehicle charging business. NASCAR employees and guests are literally consuming the product.''
The EV charging stations are a natural outgrowth of NASCAR's far-reaching Green Initiative, that already includes powering its race cars with bio-fuels such as Sunoco Green E15 ethanol-infused fuel, the largest recycling program in sports and an emphasis on renewable energy.
And quite naturally, NASCAR prides itself on staying ahead of the trend in terms of hybrid vehicles and new Green opportunities.
Last season, NASCAR used an all-electric Ford Focus as the official pace car at the Richmond, Va. race -- a first for the sport. This year, Ford is pacing both races at Michigan International Speedway with the Ford Fusion Energy Plug-in Hybrid.
Chevrolet is providing its popular Chevy Volts for initial use with the EV Charging Stations at the Daytona facility. And Lynch notes the other NASCAR manufacturer, Toyota, has long been a leader in Hybrid technology sales with its Toyota Prius Hybrid model.
One of Eaton's executives, Johnny Miller, is a former racer -- primarily in the Trans Am Series but also with NASCAR experience as well -- and provides a unique perspective and insight on the partnership.
"As a former NASCAR driver, I have seen firsthand how motorsports are not only an incubator of significant technology advancements in transportation, but also a key platform in driving public awareness of the technologies," said Miller, global client director, Eaton's electrical business.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, EV infrastructure build-out is critical given its benefits include lowered Greenhouse Gas and particulate emissions, improved public health, increased energy security and lower operating cost per mile.
For example, based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings (fueleconomy.gov), fully charging a Ford Focus EV every day for a year equates to saving 211 trees, which equates to the GHG emissions from five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
"This EV Charging system platform is like all the other programs whether biofuels, renewable energy, recycling, green air technology, tire recycling, it's one step down a long a pathway,'' Lynch said.
"We're reflecting that from a NASCAR Green perspective. We see plug-in really matured to a point that it's really about to take off and something we're really paying attention to.
"It fits right in.''
- Motor Racing
- Nature & Environment
- Eaton Corporation