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Nissan Leaf sets new record at 2011 Pikes Peak Hill Climb

In April, the organizers of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb announced that the 2011 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle would be competing in the 2011 Hill Climb event along with one other purpose-built electric race car that set the original record for an electric vehicle ascending the famous mountain race course.

The 2011 Pikes Peak Hill Climb took place last weekend and when the smoke cleared, the racing world beheld a handful of new records which included two new milestones for electric vehicles. The 2011 Nissan Leaf competed in fully stock form, piloted by experienced Pikes Peak and Nissan off-road truck racer Chad Hord. The Leaf was the first ever production electric vehicle to take a turn racing up the mountain so with a time of 14 minutes and 33 seconds, the Nissan Leaf set a record for being the fastest production electric vehicle to take on the Hill Climb ever – but only because it is the only production electric vehicle to take on the Hill Climb. I guess that in this case, being the best by default is better than not being the best at all, right?

In any case, the Nissan Leaf went a step further in showing that an electric vehicle can do pretty much anything that a gas powered vehicle can – so long as it doesn’t exceed the range of the electrical system. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is comprised of 12.42 miles of roadway, racing through 156 turns as it reaches the summit and with the instant-torque-supplying drivetrain of the Leaf, Hord was able to pull quickly out of the low speed turns so while the car may have not been the best handling car in the field – instant torque allowed it to turn in a respectable time.

The other electric vehicle at the 2011 Pikes Peak Hill Climb was a purpose built, open wheel racer using a high performance version of the electric propulsion system originally found in the Mini E Concept. This car, built by AC Propulsion and piloted by Japanese driver Ikuo Hanawa, set the record last year for an electric vehicle in the Hill Climb with a time of 13:17.575 but Hanawa smashed that record this year; turning in a time of 12:20.084.

If you are not familiar with the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, check out the video below of Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima's 9:51.278 dash up the massive mountain track as he took home his 6th straight Hill Climb title courtesy of his sponsor GoPro cameras. Tajima is driving a purpose built Suzuki SX4 with around 910hp...far from the production version of the Japanese compact.

Other Nissan News:
New 2011 Nissan Leaf to race at Pikes Peak
Nissan developing new FWD hybrid tech for next Altima
Nissan drops the Altima Hybrid for the 2012 model year
US production of Nissan LEAF electric car may be postponed due to Japan earthquake
NHTSA investigates the electric vehicle segment for fire risks
The 2012 Nissan GT-R will get more power, R-Spec model
The Nissan Leaf easily outsells the Chevy Volt in May 2011