The Volkswagen I.D. R found a full 16-seconds over the previous year's record time.
This weekend in Colorado Springs, the historic hill climb at Pikes Peak proved how it's a perfect location for testing high-performance electric vehicles.
The Volkswagen I.D. R, a fully-electric purpose-built race car for the most historic of hill climbs, absolutely crushed the previous record held by Sébastien Loeb by a full 16 seconds. With Romain Dumas at the wheel, the I.D. R was able to finish the climb in 7 minutes 58 seconds, the first-ever sub-eight minute run.
“The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the sporty forerunner of Volkswagen’s I.D. family. Today, we saw what this technology is capable of,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with responsibility for “Technical Development”. “Every Volkswagen employee can be extremely proud of today’s result."
Weighing in at just under 2500 pounds, the I.D. R is a marvel of electric vehicle developments with one purpose: going fast. The aerodynamic body and massive rear wing were intended to cheat the thin air that vehicles competing at Pikes Peak encounter with higher altitudes, while the all-electric powertrain provides instant torque to accelerate out from the start/finish line and through the tight corners.
Even during recharge, the I.D. R was intended to have a low environmental impact, going from zero to 100% charge in just 20 minutes via glycerol, a non-toxic bi-product of biodiesel that's technically just sugar alcohol. Glycerol itself is non-toxic and is even permitted as an additive in the food and cosmetics industries.
More importantly, Pikes Peak has become (and will continue to be) the default setting for testing all-electric vehicle performance. The short runs are within the performance capabilities of electric batteries, no internal-combustion means no loss of power at higher altitudes, and the instant torque of an electric motor is critical for bringing the vehicle back up to speed in a hurry.
"The traditional challenge of Pikes Peak is tuning the engines for two different altitudes—at the surface, and at the summit," explains Nate Vincent, FCP Euro Director of Motorsport and driver of the #72 Volkswagen GTI TCR in the Pirelli World Challenge series. "The real advantage of electric vehicles at Pikes Peak is being able to cheat that, for the same reason we went with an electric rover on Mars instead of a gas one—lack of oxygen. We can't wait to see how this event develops in the coming years for performance electric vehicles as a whole."