Sun, 01 Aug 2021

Motorsports - Finally Time For Its Clean Revolution?

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22 Jun 2021, 18:24 GMT+10

Motorsports is an area of recreation that is clinging fiercely to the combustion engine and vehicles of old. This could be set to change, with the federal office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy hailing a new age of supercars, fueled by renewable energy and using sustainable, high-tech materials. For years, total renewable energy capabilities have struggled to keep up with the demands of high-speed racing. The engines and materials needed to be resilient at high speeds simply have not been available. With the onset of new materials and tech, change is afoot.

The titanium boom

Early signals as to federal manufacturing policy nod towards a huge influx in new ores for electric vehicle production. As noted by industry experts TMS (https://tmstitanium.com/), titanium has a big role to play in this - though in chemical terms rather than in plate - and this is forming the basis for a new generation of electric tools that are giving greater performance to vehicles. What's more, supply is set to increase, with new manufacturing methods that will produce greater and cleaner amounts of titanium. This process, HAMR, is being vaunted by experts as a legitimate route for the USA to take in order to produce its own supply, ready for supercars.

Enhanced capability

The availability of technology is being broadened into fields including the supercar classification. While supercar experts like McLaren have noted, as in CNBC, that the technology is not yet ready, elements of it are now being included in their vehicles. A big problem with electric vehicles is the relative weight of the engines - supercars have a specifically low weight in order to achieve their performance, and the materials needed to create the electric drive-train are often excessive for this purpose. The use of lightweight and ductile materials such as titanium, and new applications that make these materials more applicable to manufacturing and, indeed, easy to create themselves, will help renewable energy to become a real force in the supercar scene and broaden their appeal once again.

Exotic vehicles

Also driving forward innovation in the motorsport arena is the proliferation of different sports. GM has highlighted the use of its Hummer EV in off-road extreme racing, a far cry from the high-performance supercars that dominate motorsport headlines, and a nod to the every-man nature of motorsports. Even NASCAR is starting to investigate renewable measures, though this is likely to mean bio-fuel rather than EVs - at least in the short term. As EVs start to gain more power through new technology, they'll start to find more of a place in everyday racing and motorsports, and broaden their appeal to the wider enthusiast base.

The motorsport industry must one day become renewable. EVs must become part of every part of the motoring world in order to truly meet climate targets and move forward past the age of polluting engines. While the technology isn't quite there yet, new advances indicate a positive future for the all-in use of renewable energy in the motorsports arena.

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