Electric “people’s car” sets new record for Pikes Peak hill-climb

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If you want to prove that an electric vehicle is fast and grunty, there’s nothing like winning an uphill road race. Against petrol cars.

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Almost ninety years ago one of the world’s most evil men instructed one Ferdinand Porsche to develop a car suitable for the masses – and Volkswagen was born.

Little did they know that the legacy they would create would become a global automobile leviathan, from the iconic hippy-mobile in the form of the VW Kombi, to becoming the fastest vehicle of any type to reach the top of the infamous Pikes Peak Hillclimb on June 24.

Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in North America.

It rises to 4,302.31 m and for those who want to race it, you’ll need to navigate 31km of switchbacks, precipitous drop-offs and more than 150 bends. It’s steep, deadly and not for the faint of heart, with thinning oxygen levels as the elevation rises.

Volkswagon’s win beats the all time record for the race. The new record of 7:57.148 beats the prior EV record of 8:57.118 set by Rhys Millen in an e0 PP100 in 2016, as well as the overall record of 8:13.878 set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a heavily modified Peugeot 208.

If you want to prove that an electric vehicle is fast and grunty, there’s nothing like winning an uphill road race. Against petrol cars.

To be clear, this car is no Kombi in looks or performance. There is little doubt that this car and the well executed record are a perfect segway to putting “diesel-gate” behind them and getting those aging hippies back into showrooms to buy their upcoming all electric range.

What this hyper race car does allegedly have in common with the upcoming range is the use of its “MEB platform” (German: Modularer Elektrobaukasten; literally: Modular Electric Kit) A modular car platform for electric cars developed by the Volkswagen Group and its subsidiaries, it is – or will be – used in models of Audi, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen.

The architecture is aimed to “consolidate electronic controls and reduce the number of microprocessors, advance the application of new driver-assistance technology and somewhat alter the way cars are built”.

The diesel emissions cheating scandal that hit Volkswagen in 2015 prompted some interesting responses, including this from Elon Musk –

“What Volkswagen is really showing is that we’ve reached the limit of what’s possible with diesel and gasoline. The time has come to move to a new generation of technology.”

It also prompted Musk and 38 other senior US investors and leaders to send an open letter to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) suggesting in short, that rather than asking VW to recall and clean up hundreds of thousands of existing diesel vehicles, it should be forced to re-invent its fleet of manufacturing facilities exclusively into the production of zero emissions vehicles.

How much influence this really had is unclear but undoubtedly it’s a pretty cool way to garner forgiveness and reinvigorate their brand.

This motorsport victory may accelerate their commitment to electric vehicles and will no doubt provide fodder for their marketing team for years to come.

Bring it on Volkswagen – an affordable electric car is exactly what “The People” want 90 years later.

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14 Comments
  1. Bill Laing 1 year ago

    It would be nice if Nigel could spell. Volkswagon and segway to start with. And his expression: “Volkswagon’s win beats the all time record for the race, set in 7:57.148” is a non-sentence as well as a nonsense. PLEASE RenewEconomy, get your contributors and “journalists” to forget their spellchecker and actually READ their own article! I can even tell that Nigel cut and pasted the correct spelling of Volkswagen into its two slots, but then reverted to the wrong spelling in his own text.
    Why does this all matter? Because if we keep going down the line of “don’t worry about the spelling and the expression”, we will soon get into Trump territory, where nothing much matters except the story itself – which should pump up the reader, but don’t worry if it’s true or fake. But what is the story, if the expression can’t deliver the meaning that the writer wrote it to convey? From a renewable energy analyst, RenewEconomy is an excellent journal – but discipline your contributors!

    • D. John Hunwick 1 year ago

      Agreed

      • Bill Laing 1 year ago

        I have just now seen the following classic example of Trumpian expression, tweeted 7 hours ago from the President of the USA. Much of its meaninglessness is due to its poor expression – check it for yourself: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring (TAKE) them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to (OF) good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come (IN) without parents…….Our Immigration policy, laughed at all over the world, is very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on (IN) line (HOW CAN A PERSON WAIT ONLINE?) for years! Immigration must be based on merit – we need people who will help to Make America Great Again!

    • solarguy 1 year ago

      As Steven Hawking said: “don’t be so pedantic” and as I say……you really need to get a life!

    • rob 1 year ago

      Amen….. much like the recent podcast! Fix it guys and girls!

    • Andrew Thaler 1 year ago

      cutting and pasting someone else’s work is the modern ‘journalist’ MO.

      part of the reason I don’t often read RE anymore.. its always written elsewhere where I do read. Though Simon Holmes A’Court knows how to write his own stuff..and write well… unlike Nigel and Giles.

    • Nige 1 year ago

      Sincere apologies. I will do my utmost to improve my grammar.

    • Gyrogordini 1 year ago

      Umm, Bill, I suspect many of us agree with your sentiments – at least to an extent – but either the name of the company has been edited to be correct (on what I’m reading) or you’re off with the fairies.
      @NM has written an excellent article, and, fwiw, I don’t have a problem with his sentence on the previous record.
      Let’s get on with celebrating the rise of sensible energy policy and deeds delivered, and not bog down to the low standards exhibited by the Trump deplorables.

  2. Bill Laing 1 year ago

    Thank you Ekkehard for your endorsement and your article (it just so happens that I, like Le Carré, learnt German and fell in love with it at school). Le Carré says it all here (slightly shortened): “In the extraordinary period we are living through, it’s impossible not to marvel at every contradictory or unintelligible utterance issuing from across the Atlantic (TRUMPISM). And in marvelling, we come face-to-face with the uses and abuses of language itself. Clear language – lucid, rational language – to a man at war with both truth and reason (TRUMP), is an existential threat. Clear language to such a man is a direct assault on his obfuscations, contradictions and lies. To him, it is the voice of the enemy. To him, it is fake news. Because he knows, if only intuitively, what we know to our cost: that without clear language, there is no standard of truth. And that’s what language means to a linguist. Those who teach language, those who cherish its accuracy and meaning and beauty, are the custodians of truth in a dangerous age.” So RenewEconomy – you have a great truth to tell – make sure you tell it clearly!

  3. Bill Laing 1 year ago

    Thank you Nigel. If you need a proofreader there are able people happy to help – including me (I if I were to be pedantic!!!). Sometimes also, you insert an acronym without an earlier explanation. I’m not talking about things like NEG which everybody knows, but eg “ESB” which not everyone knows, in 2 articles yesterday without explanation. It wastes the readers’ hard-won time (and that is every reader) whereas if you the writer got it right you will save 3 minutes x 5000 readers = 250 person hours! Another vital tip is to use commas (and semi-colons): they are essential for separating different phrases and ideas; without them your (and most other media) sentences are in some cases quite ambiguous. Despite our criticism, I think you and Giles and Sophie etc do a great job of assembling important news; as a renewable energy analyst I read every issue, and cherry pick articles for transmitting to my specialist and “retail” constituency, via network and a regular ABC Radio interview “Update on Renewables” in North Queensland.
    I am the Australian Promoter of the International Electric GT Championship (IEGC), which includes the Europe-based Electric Production Car Series (EPCS) with its inaugural FIA Calendar, in which my Australian Round 4 is planned for March-May 2019 in South Australia. We are racing Tesla S P100D cars which are the fastest production car in the world (0-100 kph 2.1 secs, top speed 250 kph): faster than a V8 Supercar (0-100 kph 3.1+ secs, top speed 260 kph). We are further advanced than Sanjeev Gupta and his Formula E idea, with sponsorship in place and the FIA Calendar set. May I send you appropriate information? Phone 0439 891 452.

    • Gyrogordini 1 year ago

      Bill, that’s two completely different topics in your one “comment”. Speaking pedantically – as a reader/consumer – may I suggest that the first part was vaguely relevant to your earlier non-comment ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF THE REPORT. The latterpart, about the exciting prospects of e-racing, merits its own article, or at least a separate comment?

  4. Ian 1 year ago

    What to make of Hitler’s Volkswagen and their Kameraden. Can the offspring of an evil man be good? 😉 German auto manufacturing is huge, and all cashed up. They have a $3.4 trillion economy to back them up. Just how difficult is it to retool all their factories and construct battery manufacturing lines to rapidly convert to EV. Germany of all places, has a massive interest in renewables and in decarbonising transport. They rely heavily on Putin- juice which is just blöd. Considering that the majority of the cost of batteries is in the investment , and human capital of manufacturing and can be sourced directly from their own country. The tiny cost of raw materials that must be imported is leveraged many times over by manufacturing of batteries and use of local energy sources. Unlike oil which is extracted, transported, refined and burnt at a ‘resource to finished product volume ratio’ of less than 1:1. Every € of oil imported from Russia is potentially a € worth of T14 Armata pointing back at them.

    The same goes for a country like Australia. We export a highly valuable lithium resource for peanuts so that other countries can build batteries for their vehicle fleets, ( and give their people something to do), and then, import a very questionable product like petrol and diesel to drive our own transportation. Lose-lose situation. Why do we have to be, forever, picking berries to sell so that we can afford a scrap of a blueberry pie, when we can just make our own ?

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