Mention the name “Honda NSX” to anyone with even a passing interest in cars, and the chances are they’ll wax lyrical about either the legendary first-generation NSX — a 2-seat, mid-engined, incredibly well-built sports car produced between 1990 and 2005 — or its second-generation sibling, a two-seat mid-engined hybrid sports car that is well on its way to winning the same number of accolades and track titles as its big brother.
What they’re unlikely to rave about however, is the all-electric Acura NSX EV Concept Hill Climb Special, a one-off custom-made race car produced by Honda specifically for the purposes of competing in the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. At least, they’re unlikely to rave about it until you tell them such a thing exists and suggests they watch the race this weekend.
Unveiled this morning by Honda, the Acura NSX EV Concept looks like any GT race-prepared NSX we’ve seen, complete with beefy wings front and rear to keep the car glued to the road. But instead of the usual NSX V-6 race-prepared hybrid drivetrain, Honda has used a quad-motor setup similar to the one it used last year in the all-electric Honda CR-Z that Japanese race driver Tetsuya Yamano drove to victory in the Challenge Exhibition class with a time of 10:23.829.
As Honda explains in its official press release, the quad motors are actually a pair of the same Twin Motor Units found in the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system it uses in the production NSX. Putting one on each axle, Honda says its motor control software is fast enough to apply torque vectoring to each wheel, a technique which not only improves straight line handling by eliminating loss of traction but also dramatically improves cornering by applying more power to the outside wheels and less (or none) to the inside ones.
Sadly, Honda hasn’t yet made the full specifications of its hill climb special known. But given Honda says the NSX EV Concept produces three times the total system output of last year’s CR-Z based EV, we think it’s going to put in a blistering performance.
Blistering is one thing but winning is another however, because in this year’s Centenary celebrations of the famous hill climb event the NSX EV Concept will have some tough competition from some other equally impressive electric cars.
Racing against it in the same Electric Modified class will be the insanely powerful e0 PP100 single-seat hillclimb special, its all-wheel drive system powered by not four but seven electric motors producing a total peak power of 1.19megawatts and a peak torque of 1,858 pound-feet of torque. Producing a total of 1.3 horsepower per kilogram, the e0 PP100 is certainly in supercar territory and has a claimed top speed of 161 mph.
Also competing against it will be the Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One, a monstrous 1.1 Megawatt electric car engineered by Rimac Automobile and driven by the legendary Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima. And that’s before we even mention the mysterious EVSR racer also running in the Electric Modified class or the Tesla Model S P90D being driven in the Electric Production class.
There’s also an impressive two-wheeled field for the EV fan too — including three different race-prepared Zero FXS electric motorcycles from three different teams, a specially built hillclimbing Victory Prototype and an entry for the Buckeye Current RW-3x.
Who will win? Based on the benefits that electric vehicles have in hillclimbing — instant torque, smooth power delivery and no loss of power as they climb up the mountain — we’d have to say it will be one of the electric vehicles we’ve mentioned.
Will it be the Honda NSX EV Concept? Who can say. But we can say something for sure: it’s one fine-looking car.
Who will win this weekend’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb? And what time will they post? Leave your predictions in the Comments below.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.