Volkswagen to take on Pikes Peak with purpose-built electric car

Just over a month after Volkswagen announced that it was working towards 300 zero-emissions vehicles by 2030, the company has revealed its plans to create an all-electric sportscar for the Pikes Peak high-altitude race in Colorado.

By partnering with Technical Development in Wolfsburg, the two companies are to build the prototype vehicle and hope to break the record for electric races on the course — currently set at eight minutes and 57.118 seconds.

Dr Frank Welsch, a board member at Volkswagen said:

“The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore excellently suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies

“Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology.

“The extreme stress test on Pikes Peak will give us important findings that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies.”

The Pikes Peak International Hill climb is run over a course of 12.4 miles in an ascent from 4724 feet to a summit of 14,107 feet above sea level.

Unlike combustion vehicles, EVs don’t suffer a drop in power when they climb steep terrain.

In this year’s race, Romain Dumas drove a 600bhp turbocharged 2.0 litre four-cylinder Honda-powered Norma MXX RD Limited race car, winning in a time of nine minutes 05.672 seconds.

Volkswagen last competed at Pikes Peak in 1987 with a 652bhp twin-engine Golf sporting a 1.8-litre engine up front and at the rear.

In September, Volkswagen joined the growing number of car manufacturers that are committing to electric vehicles, including Volvo and Aston Martin.

Even petrol companies have begun preparing for the change will rapid charging units being placed at Shell stations around the country.

The oil company is working towards 10 50-kW DC chargers at its stations by the end of the year.

Although every EV is different, Shell states that the stations will take most batteries from zero to 80 per cent in as little as 30 minutes.

The figures are competitive to most UK chargers, but are still a long way off the 120W throughput currently being offered by Tesla chargers.

Jane Lindsay-Green, Shell UK Future Fuels Manager, said:

“Shell Recharge provides Electric Vehicle drivers with a convenient way to charge their cars on-the-go.

“We’re pleased to offer rapid electric charging on the forecourt, allowing us to broaden the range of fuel choices we deliver.”

It is expected that the costs shall be at around 49p per kWh, though the figure is being kept at 25p per kWh until July 2018.