Electric cars finish in top tier of rescheduled Pikes Peak Hill Climb
Among the vehicles at this years Pikes Peak International Hill Climb were several electric cars, along with drivers and teams hoping to test electric vehicles with the race to the clouds. These teams included Toyota Motorsports Group, Mitsubishi, Elias Anderson (NovaKar), Michael Bream (EV West), Ikuo Hanawa (Ibaraki Japan Summit), and Nobuhiro Tajima (Monster Tajima). Of the electric cars that finished the race, three of them were within the top fifteen of all competitors.
The race was originally slated for early July 2012, but the epic wildfire near Colorado Springs forced the postponement of the PPIHC. The rescheduled date was last weekend.
The best times overall were Rhys Millen, 9:46.164 lap time, driving a Hyundai chassis, and Romain Dumas, 9:46.181 lap time, driving a Porsche chassis.
The top electric finisher, Fumio Nutahara, driving the Toyota Motorsports Group EV P002 electric race car. The EV P002 is built on a Radical race car chassis, and has pair of a axial flux electric motors with a top output of 350 kilowatts, with a predicted top speed of 150 miles/hr. Their lap time was 10:15.380, for an average speed of 70.201 miles/hr, which was good enough for a 6th place finish.
Not far behind was Hiroshi Masuoka driving the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution, with a 10:30.850 lap time, average speed 68.479 miles/hr, good enough for 8th place. Masuoka crashed during practice, and the team performed a major reconstruction on site rebuilding the broken front end.
Coming in at 13th place was Elias Anderson, driving the NovaKar to a 11:00.857 lap time, average speed 65.370 miles/hr. The NovaKar is based on Jim Novak's F600 race car chassis, it has a 240hp electric motor and weighs 880lbs ready to race.
In 54th place with a very respectable 11:58.929 lap time, average speed 60.089 miles/hr, was Michael Bream, of EV West, a San Diego based electric car conversion shop. The car is a 1995 BMW M3 electric conversion, with dual electric motors and a high power controller.
In 55th place was Ikuo Hanawa driving the Yokohama Tires entry, with a 11:58.974 lap time, average speed 60.086 miles/hr. His car is an electric race car built for off-road or on-road racing. It has a 200 kilowatt AC Propulsion drive train, a 37 kilowatt-hour battery pack supplied by Sanyo, and a maximum 350 Nm (258 ft-lb) of torque.
In 126th place was Beccy Gordon driving a largely unmodified Mitsubishi i-MiEV, for a 15:10.557 lap time, average speed 47.306 miles/hr. The i-MiEV received only the modifications required for PPIHC safety rules, such as a roll cage. The purpose was to show that it could be done, and that they did.
Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima's car unfortunately was forced to retire from the race after smoke started billowing out of the battery pack.