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Toyota upgrades EV P002 electric race car for hot electric competition at Pikes Peak

Competition in the electric class at Pikes Peak is heating up with Toyota seeking to hold their title in the face of multiple competitors.

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The 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is collecting an impressive list of electric powered competitors. On Monday, Toyota Motorsports Group announced details of the 2013 TMG EV P002, with which they intend to defend their electric class speed title. Other teams are looking to beat Toyota, such as the Latvian team named eO, with a similarly powerful car.

The TMG EV P002 is an electric race car built on a Radical chassis. The 2013 version sports an upgraded drive train, and prior to the race Toyota will head to North Carolina for track testing and suspension tuning. The upgraded drive train features twin axial flux electric motors, each with their own AC inverter, and 400 kilowatts maximum power (533 horsepower), and 1200 Nm maximum torque. By contrast, the 2012 EV P002 had 350 kilowatts maximum power and 900 Nm maximum torque.

In 2012 the Toyota Motorsports Group team won the electric division with a time of 10:15, achieving 8th place in the overall results, about 30 seconds off the front runners.

Whether they'll win outright, as our own John Goreham suggested, depends on what difference that extra 80 horsepower makes, and what the gas powered teams bring in 2013. The Toyota team does have the fortune of having hired Rod Millen, a multi-time winner on Pikes Peak, and father of last years outright winner Rhys Millen.

The electric car field for the 2013 race is heating up with other strong competitors besides the Toyota entry.

The eO team has built a custom built electric race car that also features a 400 kilowatt maximum power drive train. Their car has four YASA motors, one for each wheel, and a custom chassis controller to individually adjust the power to each wheel for optimum handling. Their battery pack, at 50 kilowatt-hours, is bigger than the 42 kilowatt-hours of the TMG EV P002.

Electric vehicle racing can come down to whether the car has enough energy stored on-board, and an extra 8 kilowatt-hours of juice can make the difference between running flat out the whole race or having to manage the power to ensure arriving at the finish line.

Monster Tajima will also return with an electric car entry. In 2012 he was forced out of the race when the battery pack began smoking.

EV Wests' Michael Bream will return with the company's BMW M3 electric car conversion. They haven't posted specifications, but in a Facebook posting from January he claimed 378 horsepower and 831 ft-lbs of torque. In 2012 he finished in 54th place with an earlier version of the same car.

Claudia Brasse, TMG Executive Coordinator Strategic EV Development: “We are very excited to return to Pikes Peak alongside our TOYOTA colleagues from the United States. The TMG EV P002 has a perfect history of three records from three attempts, none of which have been beaten, so we have high standards to maintain. The improvements we have made to the powertrain are expected to deliver even higher performance levels, which should again confirm the TMG EV P002 as the standard bearer for electric race cars. But as well as the electric powertrain itself, we are successfully innovating in the area of charging infrastructure. It is easy to take this for granted when you are working in a well-supplied laboratory or workshop. But motorsport doesn’t always take place in such an environment; you have to deal with varying levels of infrastructure and uncertainty regarding the power grid. The potential for off-board battery-to-battery charging technology is great, particularly in the world of motorsport where infrastructure limitations will increasingly become a source of frustration for electric motorsport. We have a flexible solution which can be adapted for different types of race and passenger car. We look forward to again demonstrating both aspects of our EV technology at Pikes Peak.”

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