VW claims it accelerates quicker than a Formula E and Formula One race car

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak racer is no joke. The German automaker finally unveiled its all-electric time attack racer and, judging by the technical specifications; it looks like it’s ready to conquer the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The I.D. R Pikes Peak has a serious amount of power at its disposal. More importantly, all that power translates to performance abilities that make it quicker than a Formula E race car and a Formula One racer.

Volkswagen's I.D. R Pikes Peak Racer is Not For the Weak of Heart Exterior
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The I.D. R Pikes Peak race car comes with a pair of electric motors that combine to produce around 680 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque.

We’ll get right to it. According to Volkswagen, the I.D. R Pikes Peak race car comes with a pair of electric motors that combine to produce around 680 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. All that for a car that weighs just 1,100 kilos, or around 2,425 pounds. Sheesh.

Those power numbers aren’t the only things that are eye-popping about the I.D. R Pikes Peak racer. Its biggest claim to fame is its acceleration, specifically its ability to cover 0 to 62 mph in just 2.25 seconds, a staggering number that puts it faster than Formula One and Formula E race cars. For comparison’s sake, modern F1 race cars typically accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in anywhere from 2.1 to 2.7 seconds.

Volkswagen didn’t reveal the I.D. R Pikes Peak racer’s top speed, but given the venue where it’s expected to compete in, the car’s top speed probably isn’t as important as its quick acceleration. Remember, Pikes Peak isn’t a traditional race circuit; it’s a grueling hill climb that features no less than 156 corners to the summit of the mountain. When you have a car like the I.D. R Pikes Peak that can accelerate faster than an F1 race car, you’re going to make a lot of noise in that racing environment.

Volkswagen's I.D. R Pikes Peak Racer is Not For the Weak of Heart Interior
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Defending Pike Peak champion Romain Dumas will be behind the wheel of the car as he attempts to beat the record time for an electric car of 8:57.118 that was set by Rhys Millen in 2016 with the eO PP100.

The priority in performance is a big reason Volkswagen didn’t put much thought into developing the car’s lithic-ion batteries to account for range. There’s no mention on that figure, either, though it is worth mentioning that the race car also has an energy recovery system that allows it to recuperate 20 percent of juice during its hill climb run.

Now that we know what we need to know about it, you can be sure that a lot of eyes will be on the I.D. R Pikes Peak racer when it tackles the 12.42-mile course this June. Defending Pike Peak champion Romain Dumas will be behind the wheel of the car as he attempts to beat the record time for an electric car of 8:57.118 that was set by Rhys Millen in 2016 with the eO PP100.

Volkswagen's I.D. R Pikes Peak Racer is Not For the Weak of Heart Exterior
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Considering the fact that Volkswagen hasn’t competed at Pikes Peak since 1987, all eyes will be on the I.D. R Pikes Peak

Considering the fact that Volkswagen hasn’t competed at Pikes Peak since 1987, all eyes will be on the I.D. R Pikes Peak to finally exorcise the demons of the twin-engined, all-wheel-drive Volkswagen Golf that failed to finish the event 31 years ago.

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Press release

Ushering in a new era of Volkswagen motorsport, the brand unveiled its fully-electric supercar—the I.D. R Pikes Peak—today in Alès, France. The supercar will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill climb in Colorado Springs, CO, on June 24, seeking to beat the existing electric car record of 8:57.118 minutes in the annual “Race to the Clouds.” I.D. R Pikes Peak weighs less than 2,500 lbs and produces 680 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 0-60 time of 2.25 seconds—faster than even Formula 1 and Formula E cars.

“Volkswagen’s goal is to reach the pinnacle of electromobility with the I.D. family,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development. “The hill climb on Pikes Peak will definitely be a real acid test for the electric drive. Customers have always benefitted from the findings made in motorsport, and we expect to take these findings and use them as a valuable impetus for the development of future I.D. models.”

The top goal when developing the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak was not on maximum performance, as is usually the case with racing cars, but rather to find the ideal balance between energy capacity and weight. Volkswagen’s prototype for Pikes Peak justifiably bears two quality seals in its name. The “R”, which is synonymous with performance cars, and the “I.D.”, the symbol of Volkswagen’s smart E-technology.

As with the sensational twin-engine Golf that took on the Pikes Peak challenge in 1985, 1986 and 1987, the engineers have opted for a solution with two power units. The I.D. R Pikes Peak features two electric engines, generating a system capacity of 680 hp.

Lithium-ion batteries are used as the energy storage system, similar to production EVs, as their power density is the crucial factor for the system when producing high voltage. Roughly 20 percent of the electric energy required is generated during the drive, so the key here is energy recovery. When braking, the electric engines act as generators, converting some of the braking energy into electricity and feeding this into the battery.

Volkswagen’s Pikes Peak program enters a crucial phase with the unveiling of the car in Alès. As testing on the 12.42-mile route of the hill climb in Colorado Springs is very limited, and only possible on certain sections, the bulk of the testing is not done on the actual route, but at racetracks. With the vehicle revealed to the world, testing can commence.

World-class driver and defending Pikes Peak champion, Romain Dumas, will be at the wheel of the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak for the attempt to break the existing record for electric cars. The 39-year-old Frenchman loves this kind of challenge—as well as three victories at Pikes Peak, he has also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice. Incidentally, Dumas, who names motorsport legend Jacky Ickx as his idol, was born in Alès.

On June 24th, the Race to the Clouds involves a 4,720 vertical-foot climb, 156 corners, and just one single attempt. Not only must the technology and driver be on top form as they attempt to set a new record, but the external conditions must be perfect. It is not unheard of for finish-line temperatures at the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak to be below freezing at the end of June.

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