Volkswagen set a new record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb last month using its battery-powered I.D. R Pikes Peak racer.
The futuristic I.D. R was driven by French ace Romain Dumas, and the electric machine climbed 19.99 kilometers to the summit in 7m57.148s, 16 seconds quicker than the previous all-time record set by rally champion Sebastien Loeb in 2013; who used a twin-turbocharged petrol V6 Peugeot prototype.
Combining 500 kW electric motors in a lightweight platform weighing in under 1100 kilograms, the I.D. R showed performance to outstrip more than 100 years of petrol-powered machines on the mountain.
Dumas said, “Since this week’s tests, we have known that it was possible to break the all-time record. For it to come off, everything had to come together perfectly – from the technology to the driver. And the weather had to play ball too. “That everything ran so smoothly is an incredible feeling, and the new record on Pikes Peak is the icing on the cake. I still cannot believe that Volkswagen and my name are behind this incredible time.”
The victory is Dumas’ fourth at Pikes Peak, adding to outright victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Audi and Porsche (both owned by VW these days).
Reflecting on the victory, Dumas said the electric racing car deserves to be viewed alongside Audi’s R10 TDI diesel and Porsche’s all-conquering 919 Hybrid machines which broke the mold at Le Mans.
“The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the most impressive car I have ever driven in competition,” Dumas said.
Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets said the Pikes Peak achievement represents “a fantastic day for Volkswagen. “The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the most innovative and complex car ever developed by Volkswagen Motorsport,” he said.
The project gives VW an important PR victory as it rebuilds its reputation in the US following its diesel emissions scandal. The push towards electrification is relentless and VW says it will launch a range of electric cars under its I.D. sub-brand in the near future.
Much has been made of ‘range anxiety’, but this is no different from the fear of running out of fuel with the normal internal combustion engines. With the advancement in battery technology, running out of electricity is much the same as running out of petrol. Currently (like the pun?) there are more petrol stations than charging stations, but that is changing daily. By 20 20 there will be one close to you, if you haven’t already got a home charging station yourself.