Pikes Peak Electric Car Contenders: How They Finished

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Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II at the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II at the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

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News at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was dominated by nine-times World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb's domination in the Peugeot 208 T16, setting a stunning time of 8:13.878 up the fully-paved mountain course.

But further down the field, a host of electric entrants were equally impressive, the fastest setting a time that would have almost taken overall first position in last year's race.

It's a mark of how quickly the electric challengers are improving.

Mitsubishi made more waves this year, its new MiEV Evolution II replacing last year's entrant loosely based on the i-MiEV production car.

The new Evo II looked even faster than last year and the team suffered fewer setbacks. Drivers Greg Tracy and Hiroshi Matsuoka needed to change to grooved tires just before the start, as rain swept across the 'Peak--but still achieved times quick enough to take second and third place in class.

Besting the two Mitsubishi entrants was the first-in-class "Monster" Tajima, in his Monster Sport E-Runner. With a final time of 9:46.530, Monster was only a few seconds off last year's overall record, and took fifth place overall in this year's event.

So an admirable effort from the electric cars, but no overall victory? Well, yes and no--while the four-wheeled entrants battled rain to take top places but ultimately shy of Loeb's stunning time, it was a different story on two wheels.

In the motorcycle class, Carlin Dunne achieved an overall first place on his Lightning electric motorcycle--edging out a combustion-powered Ducati. It wasn't an overall fastest time for the bike, Dunne's near ten-minutes-dead time around seven seconds adrift of his Ducati-powered effort from last year--but still a brilliant victory.

The focus now turns to next year's event. Loeb is now the man to beat--but can an electric vehicle claim top spot overall in 2014?


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Comments (3)
  1. Hey Antony. Good angle on how electric race vehicles really put the heat on gasoline racers. I was there covering it and Pikes Peak 2013 will go down in history as when the electric motor seriously challenged combustion engines. Dunne beat a gasoline bike on his blazing fast Lightning. I spoke to Richard Hatfield who told me he felt vindicated. Think about it, in four years he beat a gasoline bike! I'll write more about it on CarNewsCafe (sorry for the blatant ad) Jeremiah Johnson on Zero Motorcycles beat other bikes on 50% power alone!

    Lastly, Tajima won a great race and left with much better weather than Tracy, Masuoka and Millen. In fact, it had just stopped pouring rain when Tracy left.

  2. I wrote a piece speculating that Electrics might take the top 3, but,
    Puegot smoked everyone. The Electrics nevertheless showed their promise
    by putting 4 in the top 20.

  3. I think it all boiled down to weather condition. We just finished our podcast and made some prognostics for next year.

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