The annual automobile and motorcycle hillclimb, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, is also known as The Race to the Clouds. On drive up to the summit where a feet of road and the clouds are the only things in sight, the nickname makes perfect sense. The track measures 12.42 miles, over 156 sharp turns, climbing 4,720 ft from the starting line at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway. This year two daring 4-wheeled EVs, made the climb.
To take part in the climb, Volkswagen built a groundbreaking prototype race vehicle as part of the I.D series. The I.D. R features two electric motors, located at each axle, allowing for a combined 680 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle’s weight is just under, 2,500 lbs, allowing it to achieve a 0-62 time of 2.25 seconds – faster than a Formula One car. Volkswagen had modestly set out to simply top the EV record of 8:56. However, the I.D. R ended up breaking the all-time Pikes Peaks record of 8:13 with an extraordinary time of 7 minutes and 57 seconds – a truly historic moment for electric vehicles!
Samurai Speed, a race team from Japan, traveled afar to compete in the Time Attack Division for production-based vehicles of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Their 2018 Nissan LEAF was driven by Fumio Nutahara, the ace driver boasting nine championship titles of the All Japan Rally Championship. Despite being scheduled after inclement weather conditions rolled in, Nutahara’s performance in the LEAF was tremendous, beating out some of the top internal combustion vehicles in the division including the 2000 Porsche 911 GT3 and a 2017 Ford Mustang GT.
FreeWire was a proud supporter of both electric efforts at this year’s hill climb and delivered one Mobi unit to each EV team. With the week leading up to the race packed with practice runs, Samurai Speed’s LEAF was ready for a full recharge from their Mobi at the end of the day.
VW requested a customized Mobi to light up their exhibition of the new I.D Series during the ever-popular Fan Fest on the Friday before the race. As part of their commitment to clean energy, they worked with YouTube superstar, Mark Rober, to create an informative promotional video, featuring the VW Mobi. The video was released right before the weekend of the race and it educated viewers on the potential of capturing clean energy from the sun. Although Mark’s comedic ending in the video may have left fans wondering if the Mobi ever made it to Pikes Peak, VW caught some photos at the Fan Fest to assure us that it did.