AC Propulsion, a global leader in electric drive design, development and manufacturing, announced today that its drive train will power the reigning 2010 champion Yokohama-sponsored electric vehicle (EV) in the 2011 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Last year, Yokohama's AC Propulsion-equipped EV won the hill climb's Exhibition Class and set a new EV record with a time of 13:17:575. In preparation for the hill climb, taking place in Colorado on June 26, AC Propulsion enhanced the cooling system of its 200-kW drive train. This is expected to allow Team Yokohama's concept vehicle to reach the summit of Pikes Peak mountain in even less time than last year, when it beat by 65 seconds the previous record set by Jeri Unser in 2003. The vehicle, a rear-wheel drive, open-wheel racecar, was built by Summit Motorsports and will be driven by Japan's Ikuo Hanawa. It will use fuel-efficient Yokohama BluEarth tires and SANYO Electric Co. lithium-ion batteries.
Similar to the AC Propulsion AC-150 motor found in the BMW MINI E, the Pikes Peak AC-180 motor produces 268 horsepower (200kW) at 6000-7000 rpm and 258 lb.-ft of torque from zero to 5000 rpm.
"We're proud to be partnering with Yokohama at Pikes Peak again and are confident that our 2011 motor enhancements will give the Yokohama car a good shot at another EV record, and even get it into the 12-minute bracket," said AC Propulsion CEO Tom Gage. "We also hope that our shared success raises greater awareness of the unsurpassed performance as well as environmental benefit of electric drive."
AC Propulsion's 2011 Pikes Peak drive system vehicle utilizes the proprietary tzero-technology that also powered the MonoTracer MTE-150 to a first place victory in its category in the 2010 Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. Yet, the Pikes Peak vehicle's drive system, designed for high performance applications and larger vehicles, is even more powerful.
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.