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Mitsubishi Enters i Electric Vehicle at Pikes Peak

Mitsubishi has joined the electric vehicle band wagon with its entry of a near-stock Mitsubishi i at Pikes Peak.

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Mitsubishi Motors will be entering a pair of 2012 Mitsubishi i racing cars in this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event: an essentially stock version of the electric-powered 2012 Mitsubishi i (to be driven by Beccy Gordon – see more info below) along with an advanced race-spec version of the electric vehicle (EV), the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Prototype (to be driven by two-time Paris-Dakar Rally champion, Hiroshi Masuoka).

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV Prototype race car features an enhanced Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV) electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack and braking system. Engineers and researchers from Mitsubishi Motors and numerous EV component and systems suppliers will be on hand to record and analyze data from both cars entered in the 2012 Pikes Peak event, using the challenging race as an important R&;D exercise to further the advancement of the current Mitsubishi i production vehicle as well as for future EVs, Hybrids and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) models.

There will be plenty of electric vehicle competition at this year's Pike's Peak. As Nicholas Zart pointed out in his article on Pikes Peak electric vehicle racing, "EVs [are] starting to offer serious competition to conventional gasoline racing vehicles. We saw last year a Nissan Leaf race prepared climb that mountain and achieve a respectful number considering it was never designed to race when Chad Hord set the record for the first production EV with a time of 14:33 minutes."

"I'm really looking forward to driving the Mitsubishi i in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb competition this year," said Gordon, in a press release from Mitsubishi. "I am very excited to be part of this challenge and also to drive a 100 percent electric-powered car since this type of vehicle will likely play a major role in both our daily transportation and motorsports in the future."

Gordon comes from a family with a rich history in auto racing – brother Robby had a distinguished career in Indy, NASCAR and off-road racing; sister Robyn is the first woman to score an overall win in the Baja 1000; father Bob was a longtime combatant in off-road racing; and great-grandfather Huntley was an Indy car driver in the early 1900s. Beccy's husband, Ryan Hunter-Reay, is currently a driver for Andretti Autosport in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Check out the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb when it takes place on July 8. It will be strange to see it take place, though, with quiet engines like the 100 percent electric vehicle the 2012 Mitsubishi i. Maybe they'll have to add some sound effects to it.

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