Is 2018 the Year an All-Electric Racer Takes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Record? [Video]

Could the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak seize the overall course record?

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak is competing in the 96th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this weekend. Before the race tomorrow, June 24, TFL’s Mike Curtis takes to the slopes of Pikes Peak to see Volkswagen’s all-electric racer in action. The ultimate goal for the car and its driver, Romain Dumas is to achieve an ultimate victory. Not just over other competitors in the event, but over the electric record, currently pegged by Rhys Millen at 8:57.118 minutes. Perhaps, if this car eclipses the record set in 2016, Dumas can also break Sebastian Loeb’s overall record of 8:13.878 minutes as well. Loeb set the record in a gasoline-powered Peugeot 208 T16 like the one pictured below.

sebastien loeb peugeot t16 208 hill climb pikes peak
Peugeot T16 208 – for 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Gasping for air

The 3.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engine in that car, pumping out 875 horsepower, threw down an impressive time, without a doubt. However, the ace up the I.D. R’s sleeve is the fact that it’s electric. Climbing up to the clouds on the 12.42-mile Pikes Peak Hill Climb course is tough for an ordinary internal combustion engine. Near the 14,115-feet summit, the air is only half as dense as it is at sea level. As a result, normal cars lose more power the higher they climb. That’s why we consistently mention our testing that takes place at one mile above sea level, as engines make less power at altitude. At nearly three miles high, the issue is even more profound. Since the I.D. R is powered purely by electric motors, it doesn’t encounter that power loss.

Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak all-electric racer
Can the Volkswagen I.D. R take the Pikes Peak record?

And powerful electric motors they are. Under the skin of the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak all-electric racer are two electric motors. Combined, they produce 680 horsepower – enough to catapult the car to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds, according to Volkswagen. Tanner Foust, professional driver and former U.S. Top Gear host, explains the conditions for an all-electric racer to take the Pikes Peak title.

Watch the video above to find out more! Subscribe to TFLcar and TFLnow for more news, views and real-world reviews.