Volkswagen teases all-electric race car for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
By: +David Herron; Date: October 19, 2017
Volkswagen is announcing a return to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2018, driving a custom-built four-wheel-drive all-electric race car. It will have been 31 years since Volkswagen's last attempt at that race, in that case with a highly modified VW Golf that failed to reach the finish line. Pikes Peak is a very dangerous race course, climbing up to the top of the 14,000+ foot Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs CO. As you might expect, the course includes many stretches of road carved literally out of a cliff face, and a single mistake can send a racer plunging down a thousand-foot high cliff.
In recent years electric vehicles have made a significant showing. In 2015 electric cars won outright, taking both 1st and 2nd place. In 2012, Lightning Motorcycles won the motorcycle field outright, beating the entire motorcycle field by 20 seconds.
Racing is one place where electric vehicles will prove themselves to the public. The stereotypical die-hard petrol-head fast-car-fanatic will need to see concretely that electric cars can serve their need-for-speed. To the extent that these people are influencers, the more who convert from fast-petrol-cars to fast-electric-cars the more successful will be this project of converting to electric vehicles.
- Aim: to set a record on legendary Pikes Peak in Colorado
- Electric prototype uses tomorrow’s technology
- Volkswagen’s comeback, after more than 30 years
Wolfsburg (D) – Volkswagen is developing an all-electric race car for the world’s most famous mountain race, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA on 24 June 2018. The all-wheel-drive prototype’s goal is to set a new record for electric cars at the finish line, 14,000 feet above sea level. The new motorsport project is part of Volkswagen’s process of transforming itself into the leading producer of electric vehicles. By 2025, the Volkswagen brand will already offer 23 all-electric models.
"The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectlly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies," explains Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development. "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."
The vehicle is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg. "The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time," explains Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. "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.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—which insiders also call the ‘Race to the clouds’—has been run since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs. The race course is 12.4 miles long, and it climbs 4,700 feet to the summit at just over 14,000 feet above sea level. The current record in the class of electric prototypes is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, set by Rhys Millen in 2016.
About the Volkswagen brand: “We make the future real”
The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand is present in more than 150 markets throughout the world and produces vehicles at over 50 locations in 14 countries. In 2016, Volkswagen produced about 5.99 million vehicles including bestselling models such as the Golf, Tiguan, Jetta or Passat. Currently, 196,000 people work for Volkswagen across the globe. The brand also has 7,700 dealerships with 74,000 employees. Volkswagen is forging ahead consistently with the further development of automobile production. E-mobility, Smart mobility and the digital transformation of the brand are the key strategic topics for the future.