Rhys Millen Sets New EV Record At Pikes Peak Hill Climb
It’s been two years since Sebastien Loeb smashed the Pikes Peak record with an amazing run of 8:13.878 minutes, and it seems no other manufacturer/driver is able to get close to that time, let alone beat it. However, this year’s "Race to the Clouds" had plenty of drama, mostly in the electric car department. Specifically, veteran Rhys Millen set a new record time for battery-powered vehicles, taking his Latvian-built Drive eO PP03 up the mountain in 9:07.222 minutes. What’s more, Millen became the first to win the race with an electric racer.
The New Zealander beat last year’s 9:08-minute record for EVs, which was set by Grec Tracy in the 2014 Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III. Although Mitsu didn’t return for this year’s event, Millen had some competition in "Monster" Tajima’s Rimac e-Runner Concept_One prototype. Nobuhiro finished the race in second, but no fewer than 25 seconds behind the winner.
The podium was completed by a gasoline-powered car, Paul Dallenbach’s PVA, which won the Open Wheel category with a 9:36.496-minute run. Jeff Zwart’s Porsche 911 came in in fourth (9:46.243), while Clint Vahsholtz’s Ford finished fifth (9:55.479).
Keep it locked here for a detailed race recap of the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
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Why it matters
Even though Millen’s run is nearly a full minute off the all-time record, it’s a fantastic benchmark for electric cars. Not only EVs are getting closer and closer to posting 8-minute runs up the mountain, but they finally succeeded in being quicker than gasoline-powered vehicles. Loeb’s record will most likely remain untouched for a few more years, but as technology advances and batteries become lighter (this is a big issue as far as weight goes), electric cars are bound to set new records at Pikes Peak, maybe even break the seven-minute barrier.