This year, Pikes Peak will once again be crawling with electric vehicles. Mitsubishi will be there with its i-MiEV-based racer and the Pikes Peak EV Challenge Committee has just announced it will bring a new all-electric car to scale the 14,110-foot height in Colorado this July.

The prototype vehicle will be developed by Team APEV, where APEV stands for the Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles, and will be driven by Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima. Tajima has won the contest for the last six years, breaking the ten-minute barrier for the first time last year. But that was in a gas-powered car, which isn't nearly as cool as doing it with zero emissions. The coolest part, for real, is that Team APEV and Monster Sports will be participating to help victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake disaster as well as promoting environmental education projects for children and "projects to promote active participation from the senior citizens of Japan."

In 2011, two EVs, a Nissan Leaf and a custom EV from AC Propulsion, made the climb.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awesome! It would be so cool if they blew away the gas record. As others pointed out, EVs have the advantage of not being affected by altitude. But they do have to lug up the heavy batteries. The strong EV acceleration should also help it out of turns.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Dude, it's just waiting to happen. Some companies just need to man up and bring the big guns. Problem is.... you need a hell of a lot of battery.. like a >100 mile equivalent, to make a steady 7% grade for ~20 miles. So that's an expensive build to start out with.. You also have to derate your motor significantly, perhaps run a special winding of motor just for the climb ( SUPER high torque ), which is gonna require basically a new motor or stator.. Putting my eBike build has been a pain in the ass thus far due to all these factors. So.. it's a big dollar figure to get a car up that mountain without blowing it up or running out of battery. I think we will see more people compete as the cost of EV components go down.
          Dave R
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          "Problem is.... you need a hell of a lot of battery.. like a >100 mile equivalent, to make a steady 7% grade for ~20 miles." Your calcs are off. The race is 12.42 miles and climbs nearly 4,000 ft. Let's say your race car weighs 3300 lbs (1500 kg). Energy to lift the car 4000 ft (1220m) = 1500 kg * 1220 m * 9.8 m/s (gravity) = 18 megajoules = 5 kWh. So add 5 kWh to your battery to make the climb - otherwise your power requirements are the same as a level race of 12.42 miles. Let's say your race car is a Telsa Roadster and you aim to break the record. Average speed up the mountain is around 75 mph, so let's start there. The Roadster uses about 350 Wh/mile at 75 mph. So for 13 miles you need about 4.5 kWh or a total under 10 kWh. No monster battery pack here. Of course, you really need to hit speeds of 130 mph+ and do lots of braking at rates that regenerative brakes probably can't recover, but even if you assume 4 times the energy you're still looking at a 30 kWh battery pack or less. Never mind that a real race car will likely weigh less - the Roadster with it's 53 kWh battery weighs in just over 2700 lbs. A dedicated race car with less battery should be able to get down to 2500 lbs no problem and knock another kWh off the energy required to make the climb :) Someone do it already!
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Hey Dave. My bad. I thought it was 20 miles. It was >20 miles for the bicycles last year, so i figured the cars got the same route. I've done calculations for my electric bike, and the power usage is 3 time greater than on the flats for the same speed due to a constant 7% grade. I've done tests and found this to be true as well. That's just my experience from building a high power electric bike.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        But electric will win in time.. absolutely.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just watch some youtube video about this race and i just hope that they can stay on the road cuz if you drop offroad it can be disastrous with steep incline.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hm.. senior citizens.. earthquakes... ok.. that's nice... HOW FAST DOES IT GO? :D Thanks for the report, Blanco. I see pike's peak from my west facing window every day, and will be there if they allow folks to come up and watch.. so this news excites at least 1 person.. ;D