AC Propulsion announced that the Yokohama (tires)-sponsored electric race car using AC Propulsion's proprietary electric drive system broke its own 2010 record at the 89th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The AC Propulsion-equipped vehicle won the hill climb's Exhibition Class and set a new EV record with a time of 12:20:084, besting last year's record-breaking time of 13:17:575 by nearly one minute. It was also the race's fastest EV among both cars and motorcycles.
"AC Propulsion electric drive systems deliver performance," said AC Propulsion CEO Tom Gage. "Our string of Pikes Peak EV records--especially this one, where we are well into the 12-minute bracket--clearly demonstrates that electric vehicles can get up the hill fast. Now that more people are buying EVs, it's important to offer really good performance. For us, the old racing slogan holds: win on Sunday, sell on Monday."
For Team Yokohama's winning EV race car, AC Propulsion engineers developed a high-performance cooling system for the vehicle's 200-kW induction motor so it could operate at maximum output throughout the ascent up the mountain and break the record set last year with the same motor. (That motor powered the Yokohama-sponsored EV that beat the previous EV record set by Jeri Unser in 2003 by 65 seconds.)
This year's Yokohama EV, a rear-wheel drive, open-wheel race car, was built by Summit Motorsports and driven by Japan's Ikuo Hanawa. It used fuel-efficient Yokohama BluEarth tires and SANYO Electric Co. lithium-ion batteries. The Pikes Peak AC-180 motor, rated at 268 horsepower (200kW) at 6000-7000 rpm and 258 lb.-ft of torque from zero to 5000 rpm, is a high performance version of the AC Propulsion AC-150 motor found in the BMW MINI E. The drive system utilizes the proprietary tzero-technology that also powered the MonoTracer MTE-150 to a first place victory in its category and achieved the highest efficiency overall in the 2010 Progressive Automotive X PRIZE.
Now in its 89th year, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds, is the best-known hill climb in the world. Racing to the 4,301-meter summit, participants cover a 12.4-mile course beginning at the 2,862-meter level. The race is famous for the severity of its conditions: rapidly changing temperatures and weather, a combination of tarmac and gravel surfaces and 156 turns.