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New 2011 Nissan Leaf to race at Pikes Peak

When the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb kicks off on June 26, a factory-stock 2011 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle will be among the competitors in the All Electric division racing up the fabled mountain course in Colorado.

The organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb have announced that professional TORC series truck racing professional Chad Hord will pilot an unmodified 2011 Nissan Leaf along the treacherous race course. This is no doubt a publicity stunt to show off the capabilities of the Nissan Leaf, which is probably one of the last vehicles that comes to mind when someone brings up an off-road race car but should Hord be able to drive the Leaf to a respectable time – not only will it help to support the Leaf but electric cars as a group.

The stock 2011 Nissan Leaf uses an 80kW electric motor to produce 110 horsepower which yields a top speed of 90 miles per hour. The Leaf has proven itself to be among the most popular electric vehicles in the world but taking to the roads of Pikes Peak will certainly be a first for the electric Nissan.

For those unfamiliar with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, it is an uphill race that combines a variety of on- and off-road surfaces with 156 turns over a 12.42 mile stretch. Pikes Peak events draw every type of vehicle imaginable from super modified semi trucks to motorcycles to (in the past few years) electric vehicles. Japanese racer Ikuo Hanawa currently holds the record for the Electric Division with a time of 13:17:575 and while stranger things have happened, beating Ikuo’s purpose-built off-road racer will certainly be an incredible tasks for the stock 2011 Nissan Leaf.

While the odds of the average Nissan Leaf (or other EV) driver basing their purchase on the car’s ability to complete the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, this event could go one step further in showing that electric vehicles truly can do anything that the average gasoline powered vehicle.

Thanks to Luis for the heads up!

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