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Volkswagen unveils electric Pikes Peak contender

23 April 2018

Volkswagen has unveiled its fully-electric supercar—the I.D. R Pikes Peak—in Alès, France. The supercar will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill climb in Colorado Springs on June 24, and is aiming to break the existing electric car record of 8:57.118 minutes in the annual “Race to the Clouds.” The I.D. R Pikes Peak weighs less than 2,500 lbs and produces 680 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 0-60 time of 2.25 seconds.

“Volkswagen’s goal is to reach the pinnacle of electromobility with the I.D. family,” said Volkswagen’s Dr. Frank Welsch. “The hill climb on Pikes Peak will definitely be a real acid test for the electric drive. Customers have always benefitted from the findings made in motorsport, and we expect to take these findings and use them as a valuable impetus for the development of future I.D. models.”

The goal when developing the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak was not simply maximum performance, instead the company sought to find the ideal balance between energy capacity and weight, and as with the twin-engine Golf that took on the Pikes Peak challenge in 1985, 1986 and 1987, the engineers have opted for a solution with two power units. The I.D. R Pikes Peak features two electric engines, generating a system capacity of 680 hp.

Lithium-ion batteries are used as the energy storage system, similar to production EVs, as their power density is the crucial factor for the system when producing high voltage. Roughly 20 percent of the electric energy required is generated during the drive, so the key here is energy recovery. When braking, the electric engines act as generators, converting some of the braking energy into electricity and feeding this into the battery.

Volkswagen’s Pikes Peak programme enters a crucial phase with the unveiling of the car in Alès. As testing on the 12.42-mile route of the hill climb in Colorado Springs is very limited, and only possible on certain sections, the bulk of the testing is not done on the actual route, but at racetracks, this testing is now set to commence.

The car will be driven by defending Pikes Peak champion, Romain Dumas, who will be at the wheel of the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak for the attempt to break the existing record for electric cars. The 39-year-old Frenchman loves this kind of challenge—as well as three victories at Pikes Peak, he has also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice. Incidentally, Dumas, who names motorsport legend Jacky Ickx as his idol, was born in Alès.

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