Rhys Millen sets the record at Pikes Peak in Electric One Two – “I’m not happy”

Ryhs Millen took the (Unconfirmed) win at this years Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the Latvian Drive eO PP03 with Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima rolling up in second place in the Team APEV Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One, a product of the Croation electric startup Rimac Automobili. Together they mark the first year that electric power has taken the win overall.

We await final timing confirmation as severe weather has caused some confusion over the final numbers but, the official timing from the event currently places the top three at:

1: Rhys Millen 9:07.222

2: Nobuhiro Tajima 9:32.401

3: Paul Dallenbach 9:36.496

(We’ll keep you posted with any updates)

Not that gasoline is defeated of course – the third place was secured by Paul Dallenbach in the PVA and the course record still stands at 8:13.878 – a time set back in 2013.

It’s a new record but not one I’m happy with.

The first place Drive eO PP03 is powered by a total of six motors delivering over 1MW of power from a 50kWh pack however, the race win was marred by a complete failure of the rear drive motors at less that half way into the race. After the run, Rhys reported “Time should have been 30 seconds faster – it could do 8:38 all day long if we didn’t loose power. It’s a new record but not one I’m happy with.”

You can watch the winning run in the video above and, indeed, it’s clear that the power is down compared to the initial few turns however, a win is a win in our book.

Second place was taken by Team APEV Monster Sport piloted by hillclimbing legend Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima, who himself has set new records each year for the electric class. This year saw his time fall to 9:32.401 for the 12.42 mile course.

Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One 1

Team Rimac Tajima take second

As we await final confirmation from PPIHC, we ask what next? Will traditional gasoline cars fight back or will we see a switch to electric for more teams? And why are the electric teams dominating this race? To answer that, we have to look at what happens to gasoline engines at high altitude. In this race, they can loose up to 40% of their power output as they reach the 14,110 ft (4,300 m) above sea level where the thin air of the summit of Pikes Peak in Colarado, USA starves the combustion process. However, needing no oxygen, the Drive eO PP03 and Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One, are unaffected – an advantage that likely helped them claim the victory despite the PP03 loosing a motor pack.

Adding to the lack of power loss at altitude is the inherent torque output of electric motors that sees them able to deliver maximum power as they emerge from each of the 156 turns on the way to the top – no gear changes or loss of boost means more power pushing the car forward, for more of the time.

All in all, we expect to see more teams entering electric and hybrid powered vehicles in the coming years and look forward to seeing the all course records fall.

We at Transport Evolved would like to wish all the teams pushing the boundaries of racing technology, the greatest success!


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