Electric cars set new records at Pikes Peak

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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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