When the very first Pikes Peak International Hillclimb was run in 1916, Rea Lentz drove a Romano Special with an aircraft engine to the top in 20 minutes 55.6 seconds. Recently, Frenchman Romain Dumas raced an electrically-powered Volkswagen I.D R Pikes Peak along the same twisty 19.99-km route in 7 minutes 57.148 seconds, the first time any vehicle had done it in less than 8 minutes. Compared to the Romano Special which covered less than a kilometre each minute, the Volkswagen did 2.5 kms every minute!

While the shorter time was partly due to the course being entirely tarmac compared to earlier years when part of it was loose gravel, the fact still remains that technology has advanced so much to enable such speed – and with electric power instead of conventional drivetrain technology.

Electrically-powered vehicles have entered the event over the past 30 years but it’s only 2014 that such vehicles began to finish among the top places. In 2015, the top two finishers were electric vehicles, sending a powerful message with regard to electromobility.

Volkswagen’s decision to enter the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb was announced in October 2017 and the team has to complete the ambitious project within 250 days to enter the 2018 event.

The unique demands on the drivetrain technology, batteries and aerodynamics required many new approaches to be used and some of these will certainly be considered for future production models that will start with the I.D. family – a range of fully-electric models that Volkswagen plans to launch from 2020 onwards.

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Visit www.volkswagen.com.my to know more about the models available in Malaysia.

[Chips Yap]

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