Volkswagen EV Breaks Pikes Peak Hill Climb Record

Volkswagen and Romain Dumas have broken the all-time record for the fastest climb up the Pikes Peak summit in the namesake ID.R Pikes Peak electric vehicle by completing the route in seven minutes and 57.148 seconds, beating the previous record set by Sebastien Loeb in 2013 by 16 seconds.

With the ID.R Pikes Peak, Volkswagen created a race car that’s specifically tailored to the demands of the most famous of hill climbs: a combination of minimum weight, as much downforce as possible, and maximum power, designed to achieve the best possible performance. Including its battery cells, the ID.R Pikes Peak weighs less than 1,100 kilograms.

When evaluating performance, Volkswagen employed simulation software to calculate exactly how to achieve the optimum in energy demand and performance for the record attempt on Pikes Peak. In the matter of aerodynamics, the key was to compensate for the loss of downforce caused by the thin air on Pikes Peak. The result of this endeavor could be seen from afar: the flat, streamlined chassis and huge rear wing.

For the car, Volkswagen also struck out in a new direction when it came to charging technology: to charge the car as quickly as possible with minimum environmental impact. The time was defined by the regulations: In case of the race being suspended, it must be possible to completely charge the car in under 20 minutes. The electricity required was provided by generators at the foot of Pikes Peak. Glycerol, which in chemical terms is a sugar alcohol, was selected as the fuel. A by-product of the manufacture of biodiesel, Glycerol combusts with virtually no harmful exhaust fumes or residues. Glycerol itself is non-toxic and is even permitted as an additive in the food and cosmetics industries.

Volkswagen also worked with several partners for the ID.R Pikes Peak's record-breaking run. Software company ANSYS provided support with the software simulations. Tire maker Michelin‘s years of experience on Pikes Peak allowed them to provide tire technology perfectly tailored to the demands of the hill climb. Integral e-drive supplied the ID.R Pikes Peak’s E-engines, which together generated 500 kW (671 hp). OMP added the icing on the cake with the featherweight racing overall for Dumas which complemented the lightweight design philosophy of the ID.R Pikes Peak.

Incidentally, the run enabled Dumas to claim his fourth overall victory at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which has now been held 96 times since 1916, following his victories in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

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