Motorsport has always been at the forefront of automotive technology. Traction control, all-wheel drive, disc brakes, and even rear view mirrors are all features that originated as competitive advantages within auto racing, before trickling down to everyday passenger cars.
Hybrid and electric vehicles, however, are an exception. These innovations were not made in racing, but by companies like Toyota and Honda that began selling electric hybrid vehicles to begin directing automobiles away from fossil fuels. Now that it’s clear that the future of automobiles is electric, racing series’ are implementing it in order to develop the technologies in a more intensive application.
Formula 1 cars are now powered by turbocharged V6-electric hybrid powertrains, with systems that recover energy from braking and exhaust which would otherwise be wasted as heat. Le Mans prototype cars have very high tech hybrid systems and open regulations which enable teams to compete with a variety of batteries, capacitors, and motors. There is even a new series called Formula E where open wheeled racing cars are powered completely by electricity. With so many racing teams working everyday to develop their cars, electric vehicle technology will advance greatly in the next few years.