• Volkswagen Pikes Peak

Green Motorsports: VW Builds Electric Racer to Take Pikes Peak

Goal Is to Set a Record on Hill Climb

Racing betters the breed. That’s conventional wisdom in automotive world. Volkswagen clearly believes that and is preparing to put its hardware on the line. VW announced that it is creating an electric prototype to make a run for a record on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado in June 2018. Accompanying the announcement was a teaser photo of the race car.

Volkswagen, VW Pikes Peak

VW Pikes Peak teaser

The significance of announcement is two-fold. It is a return to a race venue where Volkswagen previously competed 30 years ago. More important, it signals additional investment in electric vehicle technology—the path VW has chosen for its future. In its announcement Volkswagen noted that by 2025 the brand will have 23 all-electric models.    

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,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, member of the Board responsible for development. VW added that the technology that will debut at Pikes Peak will be the foundation for some of its upcoming electric vehicles.

Race to the Clouds

The Pikes Peak hill climb, called the “Race to the clouds,” is known as the world’s most famous mountain race. The finish line of the 12.4-mile course is at 14,000 feet above sea level, climbing 4,700 feet. The current record for electric vehicles—8 minutes, 57.118 seconds—was set last year by Rhys Millen in a Hyundai-sponsored prototype. The next race will take place June 24, 2018. ”

The vehicle is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg. “The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time,” explained Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. “The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge.” Volkswagen Motorsport last participated in the Pikes Peak mountain race in 1987 with a spectacular twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing. “It is high time for a rematch.”

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About Author: Michael Coates

is editor and publisher at Clean Fleet Report and an internationally recognized expert in the field of automotive environmental issues. He has been an automotive editor and writer for more than three decades. His media experience includes Petersen Publishing (now part of The Enthusiast Network), Green Car Journal, trade magazines, newspaper and television news reporting. He currently serves on the Board of the Western Automotive Journalists.

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