Even for cars with conventional drivetrains.
What the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak has just accomplished was not technologically possible only a decade ago. Heck, fully battery-powered vehicles in general had yet to be proven. But now that VW Pikes Peak racer has officially broken all previous records for the thrilling yet dangerous hill climb event. With Romain Dumas at the wheel, the I.D. R beat previous record holder Sebastian Loeb’s Pike Peak time, clocking in at 7:57.148. This all-electric race car is also the first vehicle to tackle the 12.42-mile course in less than eight minutes.
Loeb’s 2013 record, 8:13.878, was done in a 3.2-liter twin-turbo Peugeot 208 back in 2013. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb, held annually in Colorado, consists of 156 corners and only the most skilled drivers take a crack at it. “The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the most impressive car I have ever driven in competition,” Dumas said following his accomplishment. “The electric drivetrain means that many things are different and I learned a lot during the project. The team did an indescribably meticulous, yet at the same time relaxed, job. Not only did we get the desired result, but the team spirit was also spot on. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of it.” The race car produces 680 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque courtesy of two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack.
VW already claimed the I.D. R was capable of making the sprint to 60 mph in only 2.25 seconds, but the automaker was hesitant to say a sub-8 minute hill climb time was going to happen. Weighing in at just 2,500 pounds, the I.D. R will now surely be used as a test bed for future electric vehicles. All the more impressive is that VW only announced this project last October – just 250 days before the race. A lot was accomplished in that very short period of time and the hard work has paid off. “The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the sporty forerunner of Volkswagen’s I.D. family. Today, we saw what this technology is capable of,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, VW board member for technological development of passenger cars.