The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb has become an important proving ground for electric cars, and it is here that Volkswagen will be looking to flex its muscles as it continues its EV march. The automaker has just revealed an all-electric racer built with one goal in mind, to finish the world-famous mountain race in record time.
First run in 1916, Pikes Peak has recently provided a unique opportunity for electric cars to compete against their internal combustion brethren. And they have had some success in recent years, finishing first and second in 2015 and then breaking the nine-minute barrier for the first time in 2016.
Rhys Millen is the man responsible for that record-breaking climb, finishing in his eO modified electric racer in 8 minutes 57.11 seconds, while a Tesla SP90D holds the record for a production EV at 11 minutes 48. Volkswagen will be looking to best them all with a prototype racer set to enter the 2018 event, the first time it has competed at Pikes Peak since 1987.
Volkswagen hasn't revealed a whole lot about the car itself just yet, other than releasing a shadowy silhouette image of the vehicle and saying that the project is part of its effort to become a leader in the EV space. Its recent moves in the area include electrifying classic models like the Golf and Kombi, and boldly stating plans to offer 23 all-electric models by 2025.
"The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world's most renowned car races," said Dr Frank Welsch, from the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand. "It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies. Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test posed by Pikes Peak will give us important feedback that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies."