The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is an annual event that pits the fastest, most powerful race cars in the world against a 12.42 mile long race course that has 156 turns as it twists its way to the top nearly 14,000 feet above sea level. The race begins halfway to the top and rises 4,720 feet to the finish line. Since 1916, automobiles have raced up Pikes Pike to test their speed, handling, and durability.
In the past few years, several purpose-built electric cars have taken on the Pikes Peak challenge. Until now, the fastest was an e0 PP100 that set the EV record in 2016 at 8 minutes 57.118 seconds. That car had nearly 1600 horsepower available, but it was still 43 seconds slower than the ultimate record time set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak race car.
Last October, Volkswagen announced that it was building an electric car designed specifically to be the fastest electric car to ever race at Pikes Peak. And it said it would do it with the basic powertrain components being developed for its up coming I.D. branded electric passenger cars.
Volkswagen owns Porsche, and Porsche has decades worth of experience at building ultra fast race cars. Borrowing heavily from Porsche’s previous Le Mans program, Volkswagen put together a dual motor electric car that weighs less than 2,500 pounds. At the rear, a gigantic dual element wing pushes the rear of the car into the pavement to increase mechanical grip.
On June 24, the Volkswagen racer took its turn racing up the mountain. When it finished high in the clouds, it not only beat the existing electric car record, it also set the fastest time ever recorded for the event — just a tick more than 7 minutes, 57 seconds.
The time is … hold on. Is that? Whooooohooo! It is the new overall record for the @Volkswagen I.D. R #PikesPeak at the #RaceToTheClouds! C'mooooooooooon! 7m 57.148s make history! #ChargedToThePeak
— Volkswagen Motorsport (@volkswagenms) June 24, 2018
The key to victory was as much about regenerative braking and finding the ideal power to weight ratio as it was about raw horsepower, according to The Verge. The I.D. racer recaptured about 20% of the power it needed to complete the hill climb while braking, which meant it could use a smaller, lighter battery than it would have needed otherwise.
And so another electric car has taken on the internal combustion engine and won, moving the EV revolution forward another notch. It won’t be long now before the ICE becomes a relic of the past, destined for museums where school children can learn about ancient history and wonder how people could ever have relied on such antiquated technology. Exploding gasoline in little tiny cylinders to make a car go? Ridiculous!
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