Its the old joke in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb when it commes to the electrics. The Nissan Leaf came in second and Ikuo Hanawa's EV came in next to last. Of course, there were only two vehicles in the electric division this year.
Ikuo Hanawa's first place time for electric vehicles in the 89th running of the race was 12:20.084 minutes. This is faster than many of the gas vehicles but well behind the winner in the unlimited category. Nobuhiro Tajima's 09:51.278 in the unlimited category beat his previous record on this 12.4-mile, 4,301m summit race. The race has 156 turns and has a mix of tarmac and gravel surfaces. The rapid climb can expose drivers and cars to varying temperatures. It was actually snowing earlier in the week.
Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima is 61 years old. His car is a custom Suzuki SX4 with a 910hp engine. Brianne Corn was the first women to win the Time Attack 4WD division with a time of 11:56:422 driving an Audi Quattro.
The gas vehicles were out enmasse but the electrics put on a pretty good show. Ikuo Hanawa cut 57 seconds off last year's time to get 12:20.084. This time was faster than many of the gas vehicles. It was within two minutes of Tajima's time.
The Nissan Leaf driven by Chad Hord might seem pokey with a time of only 14:33.429 but this was actually better than a number of gas vehicles. Add to the mix that Nissan Leaf was essentially a stock vehicle like the ones that should be showing up in the show room soon and it looks impressive.
Hanawa's EV was built by Summit Motorsports for Yokohama. It has a 268 horsepower, 200 kW AC Propulsion AC-180 motor with 258 pound-feet of torque. The motor was modified for internal air cooling. The car has a two-speed transmission but the gear is set before the race and does not change. The drive up Pike's Peak used low gear that has a top speed of 100 mph. High gear allows the car to hit 155 mph.
The 37 kW-hour battery pack incoproates 6,656 Sanyo lithium-ion batteries. The car actually has a 240 V charger on-board. It took four hours to charct using a portable charger. It takes about half that time if more amps are available.
By comparison, the Nissan Leaf has a top spead of 90mph and uses an 80 kW AC synchronous motor. The 24 kWh lithium-ion battery has a 3.3 kW onboard charger that works with 120 V and 240 V inputs. It take 7 hours for a full charge at 240 V. A 480 V, 50 kW fast charger is on the books.