Pikes Peak: The Race to the Clouds
Electric cars are becoming more and more common at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. This is one of the iconic motorsport events and takes place in Colorado, USA. The road to the summit includes 156 corners over 12 miles (20kms) – exciting stuff!
‘Pikes Peak International Hill Climb’, is an annual motor race also known as The Race to the Clouds.
The race first took place in 1916. It is currently contested by a variety of classes of cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads, and includes electric vehicles too! There are often numerous new classes tried and discarded year-to-year. On average there are 130 competitors.
For hill-climb events and this event in particular it is reasonable to suggest that a modern, well designed electric car will be at an advantage over internal combustion engine cars.
The issue of limited range does not apply to short sprints and the twisty nature of the Pikes Peak course lends itself well to the almost instant torque delivery of electric motors.
Fun facts about Pike’s Peak:
- There are several visitor centres on Pikes Peak, some with a gift shop and restaurant. These centres are located at the 6-mile (9.7 km) and 12-mile (19 km) markers of the toll road, plus one at the summit itself.
- Along with other food, the Summit House sells special high altitude doughnuts, frying up to 700 per hour.
- The doughnuts collapse or go mushy if transported to lower altitudes – imagine that!
Emergence of electric vehicles
Electric cars have featured on and off in the hill climb since the early 1980s:
- In 1981 Joe Ball took a Sears Electric Car to the top in 32:07.410,
- in 1994 Katy Endicott brought her Honda to the top in 15:44.710
- and in 2013 Nobuhiro Tajima broke the 10 minute barrier with a time of 9:46.530 in his E-RUNNER Pikes Peak Special.
By Milan Suvajac – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39378719