Volkswagen is doing a lot of work to repaint itself a cleaner brand image. Still, in the throes of a diesel scandal, the company has been touting one electric vehicle (EV) after the other. Although the vast majority of them — wait, all of them — are in the future, this Volkswagen venture to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with an EV is as concrete as can be.
We’re happy to see VW put more skin in the game and taper off on how it sees the future. Hey, we all want to see what is happening now and dream a little about the future. Much to its credit, Volkswagen announced it will go to one of the ultimate hill climb races, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, with an electric racer.
Developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg, the all-wheel-drive prototype will be a good way for the VW Group to share its results with its portfolio, which includes AUDI, Porsche, Lamborghini, and Ducati, amongst a few.
Why Pikes Peak Is Important For EVs
The famed Pikes Peak Hill Climb has been a testing ground for just about any type of vehicle you can imagine. You can see the biggest car manufacturers compete with local race enthusiasts — you know, the one who is testing his own tilting-steering mechanism on the now-all-asphalt road to the top, some 14,000 feet in the air.
Savvy aficionados will understand what happens at high altitude. Internal combustion engines (ICE) lose so much steam at the top despite spectacular starts. Case in point: we tested a 375 HP car at the start line and ended up with an estimated 250 HP at the top. However, EVs don’t suffer the same fate, but do quickly lose battery power going uphill at quick speeds. Hence, hill climbs are a perfect testing ground for them as well.
According to Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development: “The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies. Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test posed by Pikes Peak will give us important feedback that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies.”
VW Sven Smeets, from the Volkswagen Motorsport Director, had to say the following: “The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time. … The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge.” Volkswagen Motorsport last participated in the Pikes Peak mountain race in 1987 with a spectacular twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing. “It is high time for a rematch,” continues Smeets.
Pikes Peak Is The Ultimate EV Test!
We’re excited to see VW compete in the next Pikes Peak. It is the ultimate test of any vehicle and a proving ground. We should know. We saw the Lightning Motorcycle put 22 seconds in front of the best Ducati there in 2013.
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