Texas Motor Speedway bans electric cars from drag strip over safety concerns

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

The drag strip is the ultimate proving ground for vehicles that are quick off the line and excel in going fast in a straight line.

Racing at your local track is far safer than doing so on the streets as event staff have the proper equipment on hand to keep participants as safe as possible and handle accidents in an appropriate and timely manner. Or at least, that’s what we’re led to believe.

Texas Motor Speedway recently hosted its finals for the Friday Night Drags series and Teslarati couldn’t help but notice that electric vehicles were not allowed to participate in the event. It’s not that electric vehicles afford some sort of unfair advantage or that organizers believe they are faster than gasoline-powered rides; rather, it comes down to safety.

In a statement issued to the site, Texas Motor Speedway VP of Public Relations David Hart said the reason for the exclusion is that, in the event of a crash and possible resulting fire, their emergency vehicles do not carry the specific equipment required to suppress EV fires.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, conventional extinguishers are of no use in fighting lithium-ion battery fires,” Hart said.

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ShagnWagn

TS Guru
I know of at least one dealership here that fears their EV vehicles. They have a quarantine zone they store EV cars in when repair is needed. They are far away from anything else. When an EV car burns there is nothing left but melted slag. Very dangerous.
 
I know of at least one dealership here that fears their EV vehicles. They have a quarantine zone they store EV cars in when repair is needed. They are far away from anything else. When an EV car burns there is nothing left but melted slag. Very dangerous.
OK, 2 Qs:

Is it a Toyota dealership?
If so, do they store their Mirais at Cheyenne Mountain?
 

ShagnWagn

TS Guru
I know of at least one dealership here that fears their EV vehicles. They have a quarantine zone they store EV cars in when repair is needed. They are far away from anything else. When an EV car burns there is nothing left but melted slag. Very dangerous.
OK, 2 Qs:

Is it a Toyota dealership?
If so, do they store their Mirais at Cheyenne Mountain?
no, but they probably do too (if they were wise)
those are fuel cell cars. not battery cars, so not in scope of this article

I detect a joke in there somewhere, but I don't know the reference. sorry if so
 
no, but they probably do too (if they were wise)
those are fuel cell cars. not battery cars, so not in scope of this article

I detect a joke in there somewhere, but I don't know the reference. sorry if so
When I see a Toyota Mirai, I see:



Cheyenne was the 'safest' place I could think of. It's late in the day for me…
 
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Ean Mogg

TS Booster
It's not because of fires lol it's because they are beating Fuel cars hands down and as for fires any decent speedway would have enough men and equipment to fight any fire thrown at them ...
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Seriously, that was their reason? And just how much of an investment is involved? That is a pretty weak excuse for those that are purest and just want gas power engines. Just say it .... there will be another sanctioning body that will come along for EV races and watch the gas engine boys howl when they are eliminated because the EV boys don't want to deal with gas fires!
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
It is certainly understandable, and I wouldn't be surprised if other motor sport facilities follow suit. An accident is far more likely when racing, plus the batteries are put under stress when racing so that too increases the chances of a fire. And how do you stop one of these fires once it starts? It's a chain reaction and unless properly equipped will take several days to burn; that is a lot of lost revenue for a business to deal with and that is assuming no one got injured or killed in the incident.

Perhaps they should see what Formula E is doing with regards to potential Li-Ion battery fires. I can't imagine THEY wouldn't be prepared for this...

While I agree EV's are probably here to stay (and why shouldn't they?) but I don't think Li-Ion batteries will be the final answer. Both battery fueled and hydrogen fueled EV's have their challenges and costs but who knows what exactly will be the best option in the very end. Maybe hydrogen will win, maybe a new battery tech will win, maybe super capacitors or a combination of battery and capacitors, or maybe something we haven't even considered yet. All I know is the battle JUST beginning and it is exciting, but the tech isn't as green and glorious as the politics tell us it is - and battery fires are a good reminder of that fact.
 

Impudicus

TS Addict
They need that magic expanding foam in these cars like in Demolition Man. Make sure it encases the batteries and suffocates all oxygen. And it's not flammable of course.
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
Perhaps they should see what Formula E is doing with regards to potential Li-Ion battery fires.
I would have made that comment too -- Formula E is the reference model for EV power
 

Mugsy

TS Evangelist
They're racing Nitro-powered dragsters & funnycars that shoot flames and engines exploding are a common occurance, but *EVs* are a safety concern???

Wanna buy a bridge?