Once again, EVs made history at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, as driver Rhys Millen became the first to win the grueling challenge in an electric racer, with a time of 9:07.222, a new record for EVs. Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima took second place in the Rimac E-Runner, with 9.32.401 (bad weather forced race officials to shorten the course from 12 miles to 6 miles).
The winning car, the eO PP03, built by Latvian team Drive eO, features a 50 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and six YASA-400 electric motors with eO-developed controllers. Total power is 1,020 kW (1,367 hp). The first-place finish is all the more amazing, as the AWD malfunctioned during the race, leaving only one axle with power.
Second place was taken by Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, driving a 1+ megawatt electric racer built by Croatian startup Rimac Automobili specifically for Pikes Peak. The motors and controls, battery systems, transmission and other powertrain-related systems were developed and manufactured by Rimac, in cooperation with Tajima Motor Corporation.
A recent video shows Rimac’s monster EV being tested on a dynamometer, and screaming through one megawatt (1,341 hp) of power.
Several other electric cars and motorcycles entered the field. The next fastest EV was a custom electric motorcycle called Mirai, built by a Japanese team and ridden by Yoshihiro Kishimoto. A time of 10:58.861 earned 29th place.
Lightning Motorcycles, which beat everything else on two wheels in the 2013 race, made a respectable showing, equaling its 2013 time of 10:00.694 with a prototype Lightning LS-218 ridden by Carlin Dunne.
Buckeye Current, a team from Ohio State University, finished at #32. Other electric contenders included three bikes by Zero Motorcycles and a pair of cars built by Entropy Racing.