German auto giant Volkswagen has created a brand new electric supercar in an attempt to break a speed record on Pikes Peak, an iconic hill climb in the Rocky Mountains.
The I.D. R Pikes Peak features two electric engines that generate a system capacity of 500 kW, capable of taking the vehicle from 0-100 km/h in 2.25 seconds. That power will be put to the test on the infamous Pikes Peak route, a 19.99km ascent that features 156 turns and climbs almost 1.5km to the summit of the Colorado mountain. According to VW, the goal is to claim the record for electric vehicles, which currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes. It is also hoped that lessons from the venture can be applied across Volkswagen’s electric I.D. range.
“The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races,” said VW board member for development, Dr Frank Welsch. “It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore excellently suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies.”
“Volkswagen’s involvement on Pikes Peak not only sets the trend for our future in motorsport, but is also of great symbolic significance in the truest sense. Customers have always benefitted from the findings made in motorsport, and we expect to take these findings and use them as a valuable impetus for the development of future I.D. models. The hill climb on Pikes Peak will definitely be a real acid test for the electric drive.”
About 20 per cent of the power required to climb the course will come from regenerative braking, with the electricity being fed back to the vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries. At the wheel for the record attempt will be two-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, who also has three Pikes Peaks titles to his name. With each vehicle permitted just a single attempt on the course, the race is as much a test of the driver’s skill as of the technology, comparable in some ways to the Nürburgring. Unlike the Nürburgring, however, testing on Pikes Peake is strictly limited, with the full length of the hill climb only available for racing on a single day each year.