We all know that electric cars can be fast — very fast — and that they have the potential to make outstanding racecars. Except one big, looming issue, the same cruel monster that haunts every electric car — how far can they actually go?
Range is always the limiting factor with electric cars, and the length of time needed to recharge them. In certain types of races, like drag racing, you could avoid these issues by letting the cars have direct access to power at all times. With sparks, too. But for other sorts of track racing or rally racing, this just isn't practical. So how can this be made to work?
Even Nissan's "electric" Le Mans car, the ZEOD RC, will only run one lap in an hour's session on electric power. That's not an electric car — that's a gas car that pretends to be electric 5 or 6% of the time. That's like saying your average Furry is a giant, anthropomorphic wolf-human hybrid even though 95% of the time it's just a lonely guy with a vivid, pervy imagination.
If we're talking stock-based electric racecars, options like battery swaps aren't really an option. A Tesla, for example, builds its many batteries right into its skateboard chassis, and there's no easy way to swap them out. Charging, even with one of their advanced Superchargers, still takes about 20 mins to get 100 miles of charge. That's not bad for normal driving (though still a good bit slower than a conventional fill-up for the mileage) but in a race context, that takes forever and gets you nothing. Racing is much more taxing than normal driving, and that "100 miles" would be swallowed up in no time. The batteries can hold over twice that amount, but that means more time in the pits.
Maybe the solution is that electric racing teams can have multiple cars? Say, three-cars for one driver. Two cars are charging while one is on track, guaranteeing that there will always be a fully-charged car ready to go. The driver pits, changes cars, and goes back out.
Is that fair to the gasoline teams, since it effectively splits car wear and tear over three cars? Is there a better way?
Let's hear some ideas, and then I'll get Elon on the horn to get this moving.