Virginia leaders are using this weekend’s NASCAR race in Richmond to promote environmental stewardship and to say that the state is on board with using alternatives to help cut costs.
The event also confirms that the technology to create more fuel-efficient vehicles for the consumer market is more advanced than some may have thought.
Millions will witness the first ever fully electric pace car in a NASCAR race. Lt. Governor Bill Bolling helped unveil two vehicles at the State Capitol just before delivering them to the Richmond International Raceway.
A NASCAR official says the electric Ford Focus, which is priced at nearly $40,000 , meets all the rigorous specs of other pace cars, but it’s fuel efficiency is the equivalent of 110 miles per gallon. While Bolling says this cross-promotion adds to the already successful race, which brings millions in revenue to the state, it signals new technology and savings.
“You know one of the reasons that we’re trying to move in state government to have more environmentally-conscious requirements in construction of buildings and conversion in our own state fleet is in large part, those two things: it saves money on fuel but there is also an environmental consciousness that is a part of it that is important. And I think we’re going to see as these technologies improve, that the cost of the products over time will be coming down,” says Bolling.
The vehicle does not appear to be ready for broad consumer purchase. A Ford spokesperson says the cars are primarily commercial vehicles.
-by Tommie McNeil