Sexagenarian to Pilot EV up Pikes Peak for New World Record
EV technology has reached motorsports-level performance for rally racing, and may even outrun combustion engines. Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima and his design team have created the 2012 E-Runner Pikes Peak Special, an EV hill climber with which he’ll attempt to break all speed records, both for combustion and electric.
Designed for the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Special was designed “to help save our beautiful planet Earth for our children,” according to Tajima. Groan away, but sending an EV out on Pikes peak — all 14,110 feet, 12.42 miles, and 156 turns of it, with a legendary driver — is a realized next step in certifying EVs as legitimate performance vehicles.
Electricity has an edge in a race like this. EVs have high torque and the motors aren’t affected by the thin air at high altitudes. At just over 12 miles, range isn’t an issue, and regenerative braking is used to keep topping up the batteries during the run. A lightweight all-carbon-fiber body gives swift acceleration, and an enormous rear wing provides downforce when Tajima crests triple-digit speeds.
Tajima, now 62, isn’t the first driver to take on Pikes Peak with volts instead of fuel. Last year, Nissan sent a nearly stock Leaf (save for race seats and a roll cage) up the mountain in just under 15 minutes. Another model from Summit Motorsports conquered the course in an EV record time of just over 12 minutes – AC Propulsion’s technology from that model even ended up in the Tesla Roadster.
Tajima, who finished in a course record 9 minutes 51 seconds in his 910-hp Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special, is gunning to best his own numbers. Watch on August 12 for him to easily surpass the current EV standard set by AC, and potentially shame the fuel-burning competition.