If you’ve ever been to a NASCAR race, you know that the deafening roar and the smell of exhaust are part of the experience. So imagine what it’s going to be like having the first all-electric pace car, a Ford Focus electric, leading the field for the Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond, Va., on April 28.
The answer, of course, is quiet and clean. Electric cars hum. They don’t roar, and there are no emissions.
“Highlighting the Focus electric as a pace car is a fun way to educate consumers about the kinds of benefits our electrified vehicles deliver,” says Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas.
NASCAR fans aren’t exactly the kind of people who we expect would be terribly impressed by an electric car. They have gasoline in their veins. The higher octane, the better, but if Ford and other automakers are going to move electric cars into the mainstream, NASCAR isn’t a bad place to start.
About 35% of consumers thinking about buying a new car are car racing fans, and 78% of those back NASCAR, according to Ford. Plus, NASCAR fans are more brand loyal. Ford says about two-thirds of the brand’s racing fans are more likely to consider a Ford when looking for their own new car.
“Our fans are customers,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “And just like in racing, they expect both fuel economy and performance from their daily drivers, and that’s what Ford is delivering.”