I’m not sure when it happened or why, but the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has become a magnet for alternative fuel race cars, especially electric vehicles. Last year the Toyota P002 electric race car set a new class record for EVs, and was just 30 seconds behind the all-time record set by Rhys Millen. Well Toyota is returning for 2013 with a refreshed race car to finish the job.
With Rod Millen, father of Rhys, at the wheel of the Toyota P002, Toyota seems to be hoping that having a seasoned race car driver will pay off on the 12.42 mile course. Of course that isn’t the only change Toyota has made to their electric race car.
For one, aerodynamics have been improved to allow the P002 to slip through the thin air at the top of the peak. Power has been increased to 400 kW, or about 540 horsepower, with up to 1,200 Nm, or about 885 ft-lbs of torque on tap. Top speed has also been increased to about 143 mph, and a new Schneider Electric EVlink fast charger will juice up the 42 kWh battery pack.
Will Toyota be able to fend off newcomers and veterans seeking to steal its electric racing crown? Or will the competition to be the cleanest and quickest to the Pikes Peak summit go to a challenger? I’m looking forward to finding out.