• Jun 28, 2011
Nissan Leaf at Pikes Peak Hill Climb – Click above for high-res image gallery

Under pristine conditions at the 89th running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, veteran Nissan racing champion Chad Hord piloted the Nissan Leaf into history, setting the initial record in the Hill Climb's electric production vehicle class. The Leaf completed the 12.42-mile run in a respectable 14 minutes 33 seconds. Though the Leaf was virtually stock, it outgunned some competitors with modified internal combustion engines.

The Leaf whizzed from corner to corner in near silence – aside from the sound of squealing tires and a warning beeper installed at the request of race organizers. On approach to the 14,110-foot summit, the Leaf's electric motor wasn't sapped of power by the thinning air. After the race, driver Hord enthusiastically stated:
The Leaf was great fun to drive up the mountain. 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.
For more on the 2011 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, including some breathtaking live action shots, click here.



Photos copyright 2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Nissan]
Show full PR text
100% ELECTRIC NISSAN LEAF TAKES HISTORIC PIKES PEAK WIN
- Brad Lovell and Nissan Frontier place second in Pikes Peak Open Class -


Under beautiful blue skies at the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb yesterday, veteran Nissan off-road truck racing champion Chad Hord and the 100 percent electric Nissan LEAF made history as the first winners of the Electric Production Class. The LEAF completed the run with a time of 14 minutes 33 seconds for the 12.42 mile run. Even though the LEAF was virtually stock except for interior safety modifications and more aggressive wheels and tires, it out ran several competitors with highly modified internal combustion engines.

The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs internal combustion engines of up to 30% of their power at the summit but the LEAF's electric motor is not impacted by the thin air. It produces the same amount of power at the start and the summit.

The LEAF zipped from corner to corner in near silence other than the sound of squealing tires and the high pitched sound of a warning beeper installed at the request of the race organizers to warn spectators and workers. The LEAF comes from the factory with a pedestrian warning system that is active up to about 30 miles per hour but since the LEAF was traveling much faster on the course a supplemental system was a good way to warn those along the course that it was approaching.

"The LEAF was great fun to drive up the mountain" said Hord. "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."

Since the competitors can only practice a third of the run at a time during the week leading up to the race, today was the first time Chad and the LEAF had completed the entire race distance in a single run. "The Nissan LEAF and Chad both performed flawlessly this week" said Ron Stukenberg, senior manager, Marketing Communications, Motorsports. "This was an innovative way to demonstrate that 100 percent electric vehicles perform very well in highly demanding situations like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb."

Fresh off his first ever Traxxas TORC series podium finish in his Nissan Frontier last weekend at Crandon International Speedway, Colorado Springs resident Brad Lovell made it two in a row with a second place finish in the tough Pikes Peak Open class in a time of 12 minutes and 33 seconds. This was done in the same truck that finished second at Crandon despite the very different nature of the course at Pikes Peak verses that at Crandon.

"We drove straight back to Colorado Springs from Wisconsin and quickly modified the Frontier to a pavement-type set up to make tech inspection on Tuesday and then be ready for the first practice at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday" said Lovell. "The team did a great job to make it all happen with very little sleep. I couldn't be prouder of what we've accomplished in the past two weeks."

Lovell and Hord will next race July 22-23 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina at the Traxxas TORC event with Lovell at the wheel of his Nissan Frontier and Hord at the wheel of his Nissan Titan.

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. More information about Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.infiniti.com.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      btw I wonder why they didn't bring their leaf nismo
      amtoro
      • 3 Years Ago
      A comment to those who think this is not a big deal... I grew up in south america and used to drive from the city to my parent's on a very well kept, four-lane median-separated road up one of our many mountains. The trip to the peak is 16km and the change in elevation is 1050m averaging a slope of 6.56%; Pikes Peak averages 7.1%. An average time to the top without passenger, in a 1.8L small coupe takes 20 minutes, if you are really crazy and there is no traffic, you can make it in 15 minutes. Pikes Peak is 12.42 miles, about 20km, which, correlating, would be equivalent to making my usual trip up the mountain back home in less than 12 minutes... not an easy feat! The leaf's average speed would have been 51mph (82.4km/h in my case). I think I can say that this car is (not being a race car) a VERY capable vehicle. And once you're done climbing mountains, you can get free electricity after regenerating all the way back :)
      Ernie Dunbar
      • 3 Years Ago
      It sure seems that way, since the official PPIHC site refers to a time to the peak that is almost exactly half of the total time.
      Ernie Dunbar
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice to know that there are some Autobloggers who actually, oh I don't know, actually *go* to really cool events like the PPIHC (I don't know why any autoblog writers would want to show up there...). This is a rehash of Nissan's press release. I saw it first on Facebook, fer chrissake. As for the claim that the Leaf beat out some gasser competition... well, according to http://www.usacracing.com/usac_live/ppihc_timing they got beat by (for example) a 2003 Mini Cooper S (no. 127) driven by last year's rookie who is now 17. According to her website, this is a special-built Mini, but I couldn't find anything special about the engine being modified in my googling, only the suspension, tires and roll cage. My guess is that the gassers who did worse, (drivers that typically finished last or second to last in their class) did so because of major screwups on the course, rather than because their cars weren't fast enough. I like the Leaf, don't get me wrong, but it's about as much of a race car as a stock Toyota Corolla is. And the extra weight of the battery would totally work against it in the uphill portion of the race.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      How about a video?
      Andrew Richard Rose
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well that showed them !
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      So what was the chevy volt's pikes peak time?
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Is there a way to force the Volt into electric-only mode? According to Wikipedia, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is 20 km long, but climbs 1,439 meters. ΔU = mass × g × Δheight, so for a 1715 kg Volt I *think* that's a 6.7 kW·h increase of potential energy that has to come from the battery. Flat out the course seems near the edge of the Volt's electric-only capability.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      yeah EVs should have the altitude advantage so it might be a good venue to shame the primitive ICE cars. but come to think of it, has a tesla roadster never driven the course? seems a stock tesla might do quite well despite its fat ass : ) no tesla on the nurbürgring either.. quick math suggests that the 1.43km rise costs about 1kWh for a 200kg vehicle (irrespecitve of speed) plus the energy it takes to go fast over the 20km distance (mainly wind resistance) to beat the 10 minutes you have to maintain a 120km/h average speed which should be quite possible with an EV that has strong acceleration to recover after hair pins. and EV can have strong acceleration. wrightspeed X1 might also do very well. it would need around 4kWh to scale the altitude and the rest for speed. although the x1 has an overheating issue. may need a more robust pack.
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      Like!
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, if the gas guys need any proof that electric motors rock, there it is. I am glad the car held up. They must have built a good thermal buffer into all the components.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        And if there is a good thermal buffer, that means there is room to mod it for more power. I'd love to be the first guy to modify the controller shunt to dump out more amps ;]
          Ernie Dunbar
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Yes, but it's still front-wheel-drive. :)
          letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          "Yes, but it's still front-wheel-drive." Until they race it in reverse... :0
      John R
      • 3 Years Ago
      The "more info" link points to an irrelevant page on Autoblog about Pikes Peak but without any info on the Leaf's run to the top. Fortunately, there are lots of websites all abuzz with pics :)
      Edge
      • 3 Years Ago
      Awesome! The Leaf is proving to be a real winner. Nissan has done a great job!
    • Load More Comments