• Jun 28th 2011 at 11:31AM
  • 4
Electric cars at the 2011 Pikes Peak Hill Climb

There were two electric cars on the entrant list for this year's Pikes Peak Hill Climb, and both set new records as they crossed the finish line at 14,110 feet.

First up was a 2011 Nissan Leaf, the first production electric car to compete in the event, and – by default – setting the initial record. Veteran Nissan off-road truck racing champion Chad Hord was behind the wheel, and completed the 12.42-mile course in a respectable 14 minutes 33 seconds. "The Leaf was great fun to drive up the mountain," said Hord after the race. "With the instant torque from the electric motor, we were able to jump out of the many slow corners, and the performance was very consistent from the bottom to the top since the electric motor wasn't affected by the high altitude near the summit like the gasoline powered cars."

Next up was the custom open-wheel electric car built by AC Propulsion featuring a high-performance version of the battery system found in the Mini E. The car broke Pikes Peak's electric vehicle record last year with a time of 13:17.575, and for 2011, Japanese driver Ikuo Hanawa handily surpassed that with a 12:20.084 run up the mountain.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty good job for the LEAF, over a minute faster the the Fit, which was the only comparable street car in the race. And while the open wheel car may not be the absolute fastest car on the track yet, it came out mid-pack compared to the gasoline open wheel class cars that finished. With technology moving forward and times comming down as fast as they are, it seems like it will only be a matter of time. It would be good to see some competition out there, rather than just one car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The EVs probably reached the top with a battery close to fully drained. On the way down, using regenerative braking, a good portion of that energy probably got recaptured.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's no surprise that the Leaf made it to the top. After all, it is only 12 miles despite the roughly mile high climb in elevation, but I will say that time does impress me. No, it's not blistering fast, but would you expect a Leaf to be in the first place? Even so, it's not terribly slow either. The average speed of the Leaf works out to about 52 mph while the Monster, Mr. Tajima, rocketed up with an average speed of about 76 mph. For such a climb, I find 50+ mph average to be respectable and more than I would have expected from the car. Kudos, Nissan, kudos. Now please build an electric sedan so our only option is not this golf cart. ;)
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