Volkswagen’s electric-car revolution – badged ID – was kickstarted in spectacular fashion on Sunday (24 June) on a remote mountain road in Colorado, US, when VW’s first electric racer smashed the Pikes Peak hilllclimb record.
Frenchman Romain Dumas piloted the battery-powered single-seat winged wonder from Wolfsburg up the death-defying 20km (12.4 mile) climb in 7min 57.148sec, beating both other electric and combustion-engined machines and smashing Sébastien Loeb’s overall Pikes Peak record from 2013 by 16 seconds.
Romain’s steed was the specially-built ID R Pikes Peak, racing forerunner of a new ID electric car family from VW. The company has pledged to have 20 fully-electric machines in the showrooms by 2025 – alas none promise to be as fast as this one…
The closed-cockpit hillclimb beast combines 671bhp with a trim all-up weight of 1100kg and massive downforce from the giant wing to keep the thing stuck down around the climb’s 156 corners, which rise to a peak 4300m above sea level.
One technical challenge for electric cars at Pikes Peak is the requirement that they can be charged up cleanly and quickly in 20 minutes. VW’s answer was to use special generators fuelled by glycerol, which combusts with virtually no harmful exhaust fumes. VW Motorsport, which built the car is just 250 days, says it is the most innovative and complex car it has ever developed.
“Today, we saw what this technology is capable of,” said VW technical chief Dr Frank Welsch. “That the Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak has set the fastest time at the hillclimb whose history spans more than 100 years speaks volumes for electric mobility.”
It is the fourth time that Romain Dumas has claimed overall victory at the iconic “Race to the Clouds” hillclimb, which has been held 96 times since 1916. The driver said after his record run: “The ID R Pikes Peak is the most impressive car I have ever driven in competition. Awesome.”
Here’s hoping the VW ID showroom cars are just as awesome…
Meanwhile in other news from the Peak, the production SUV record has been smashed by nearly two minutes by the Bentley Bentayga. Driven by Kiwi ace Rhys Millen, the W12-engined, 600bhp goliath roared up the mountain at an average speed of 66.5mph, completing the climb in 10mins 49.9secs. Bentley is making a limited run of 10 special Mulliner-built Pikes Peak Bentaygas to mark the record.