Volkswagen to take on Pikes Peak with a purpose-built electric racer – Ars Technica


The annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the oldest races in the world, having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. For much of its history, the 12.4-mile (19.9km) course was a dirt road that played host to rally-bred machines, but since the route was fully paved over in 2012, slick tires and stiff suspension have become the order of the day. And the very fastest cars have gotten a lot quieter, too. That’s because it has become a great place to put electric vehicle technology to the test. Unlike internal combustion engines, EVs don’t suffer any drop in power as they climb from 4,750 feet (1,440m) up to the finish above the tree line at 14,100 feet (4,300m).

Now Volkswagen has thrown its hat into the ring with a purpose-built EV racer, which it plans to enter in 2018. It’s the first big motorsports program from VW in the aftermath of the diesel emissions scandal, which saw the company cancel most of its racing and rallying activities.

“The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies,” explains Volkswagen board member Frank Welsch. “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.”

Sadly, we don’t have any details about the EV yet, nor any images other than the silhouette you see above. In fact, we don’t even have a name for it yet. But we know it will be all-wheel drive, and we’d expect it to pack at least 745kW (1,000hp), given that VW is aiming to set a new EV record on the mountain, and it will be competing with other EVs with similarly massive power outputs.

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