Electric Drag Racing in the US: NEDRA and ECEDRS

State of Sustainable Racing 2012 Case Study

Background

The NHRA is “the Union” of drag racing. It establishes safety rules and vehicle classes. Safety rules allow cars to be insured in order to race on tracks. Any vehicle that passes NHRA safety rules can drag race on Saturday “Test and Tune” days, vehicles race can race alone or against each other by “bracketing,” a form of handicapping where the faster car waits longer for the green light. This has been the most common method of electric drag racing to date. However, it is not a very well attended event, and it is open to all, so there is no focus on electric vehicles, and they are lost in the mix.

The NHRA also allows racing groups to organize independently and to establish their own categories and race circuits – as long as they follow NHRA safety rules. These are called Alternative Sanctioned Organizations (ASO). They must pay for their own insurance at about $1600 per event.

  • Vehicle Type: ¼ and ⅛ Mile Electric Drag Cars and Bikes: Many different classes
  • Fuel/Energy Source: Electric Motors and Batteries
  • Years in Production: an electric car held the land speed record in 1899
  • Sponsors:Many small businesses that support the electric vehicle industry. Many are owned by the vehicle racers themselves:

The National Electric Drag Racing Association

The National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA.com) is a non-profit that was established in 1996, was approved by the NHRA in 1999, and received ASO status as well as having its additional electric vehicle rules section 4.i approved by the NHRA in 2011. The International Hot Rod Association accepted the electric vehicle rules.

NEDRA uses chassis origination and extent of modifications to separate distinct “classes” of vehicles. It uses nominal or measured voltage as a metric to separate the different performance divisions the vehicles. There are about 100 active members of NEDRA worldwide, and there are four racing events scheduled in 2012.

The East Coast Electric Drag Racing Series

The East Coast Electric Drag Racing Series (ECEDRS.com) is a subsidiary of the International Electric Racing Series located in Connecticut and serves the East Coast of United States and Canada. ECEDRS follows all safety rules, regulations, and classifications for electric vehicle drag racing set by ECEDRS, NEDRA, NHRA and IHRA.

ECEDRS is a for-profit coalition of racing enthusiasts, EV racing owners, and supporters. It was formed to provide safe competition for EV Racing, encouragement in EV Racing, and partnerships for racers, EV part suppliers, and tracks throughout the East Coast.

ECEDRS’s goal is to the promote the sport of electric vehicle racing by bringing sanctioned events to East Coast tracks while maintaining classification and safety rules for EV Drag Racers. It allows its members to set records by Classes and Divisions. Modifications will determine what class and division the record will be recorded. ECEDRS has eight races scheduled for 2012.

Sustainability

The most movement has been from lead to lithium batteries, and there are yearly advancements in electronic controllers.

  • Lead batteries: 80% recyclable; 3-5 year shelf life; 20-30 mile range each
  • Lithium batteries: 90% recyclable; 10 year shelf life; 90-120 mile range; ½ the weight; but, cost 3 times that of lead batteries.

Performance Metrics

  • Official rules for electric drag vehicles: http://nedra.com/class_rules.html
  • NEDRA record holders: http://www.nedra.com/record_holders.html
  • National Electric MotorSports Racing Series Record Holders: http://ecedra.com/racingholders.html

NEDRA Speed Records (Fastest NHRA Gas Times are for comparison)

ECEDRS & NEDRA Divisions

Conclusions

Electric drag racing is still a small grass roots movement with a small following. The principle problems are a lack of major sponsorship, the high cost of vehicle development, and a lack of exposure to traditionally fueled vehicles. Due to their high cost, the expense of transportation, and the lack of winner’s purse, there are few events, and few racers can race on a regular basis. However, the sport is still growing despite these roadblocks.

Learn More

NEDRA Website

Research by Dominican University’s Green MBA Program

Authors: Jake Baker, Robin Carew, Diana Connolly, Jack Decker

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