LEAF first Electric Production Class winner at Pikes Peak
A Nissan LEAF driven by Nissan off-road racer Chad Hord set a first Electric Production Class record of 14 minutes 33 seconds up the hill. The distance of the hillclimb is 12.42 miles (which calculates out to 51.2 miles per hour average if you’re interested). One thing makes this particular competition unique – there is almost 5,000 feet of elevation change in that 12 miles. And it starts over 9,000 feet high and goes to 14,110 feet at the top.
If you have never driven at altitude, the thin air costs internal combustion engines a significant amount of power – up to 30% power loss. The advantage of an electric motor is that there is no power loss because it does not rely on the density of the air to make its power. So in competitions such as these, forced induction (turbochargers or superchargers) have become more popular to move the cars up to the top faster.
In fact, the current record holded is called the Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 driven by Nobuhiro Tajima. Tajima is unkindly called a former rally driver in the Wikepedia article about him. We say unkindly, because the 61-year-old just set a new world record up the hill of 9:51.278. This breaks his previous record up Pikes Peak set in 2007 of 10:01.408. This is the first time ever that anyone has broken the 10 minute barrier. We would like to see the author of that article to try his hand at handling a high-powered race car and see how well he does. Speaking of which – let’s take a closer look at these two cars.
Nissan LEAF – stock drivetrain (107 horsepower) with some safety modifications and performance wheels and tires bolted on.
Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 – 3.1 liter, twin-turbocharged V6 producing 910 horsepower, running on specially designed tires for this car and this race.
107 horsepower stock electric car vs. 910 horsepower twin-turbo V6. We think the LEAF did pretty well. Kind of makes us wonder what the NISMO LEAF would have done. Ah well… there’s always next year.