Is VW Serious About Electric Cars? Its Pikes Peak Hill Climb Racer Says Yes
The last time Volkswagen participated in the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb 30 years ago, its dual-engined entry came within a hair’s breadth of finishing the tough 12.4-mile time trial. And, now, as the automaker, has set its course to become the leader in electric vehicles by 2025, is tackling the 14,000-foot mountain again.
The goal is a new electric car record
VW has an all-electric race car for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb next June under development. Its goal is to set a new record for electric cars when it crosses the mountaintop finish line.
“The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technology,” Dr. Frank Welsch explained in an interview. Dr. Welsch is the member of VW’s board responsible for development.
“Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test posed by Pikes Peak will give us important feedback that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies,” he continued.
2 VW departments combine effort
Currently, under development at the carmaker’s Wolfsburg headquarters, VW Motorsport is leading the effort, cooperating closely with the Technical Development department.
“The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time,” Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport director, told an interviewer.
“The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge,” Smeets continued. The last time VW Motorsport took part in the 12.4-mile race that climbs 4,700 feet to the summit at just over 14,000 above sea level was 30 years ago. “It is high time for a rematch,” Smeets continued.
The Hill Climb, officially known as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and known to insiders as the “Race to the Clouds,” has been run since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains, near Colorado Springs. The VW electric race car faces a tough challenge as it must beat a time of 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, set in 2016 by Rhys Millen.
VW entry will have all-wheel-drive
Next year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb will take place on June 24. VW’s entry in the grueling event will be an all-wheel-drive model whose aim is to set a new record for electric cars. The new motorsport project is part of VW’s process of transforming itself into a leading producer of electric vehicles. It is likely that the technology developed for the Hill Climb will find its way not only into VW’s motorsports effort but also into its street efforts, as well. By 2025, VW has set its sights on offering 23 all-electrics, making it the leading producer of electric vehicles in the industry.