Honda is hoping to pique people's interest at Pikes Peak

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 22 Jun 2016

For the 100th anniversary edition of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Honda is entering a plug-in battery vehicle inspired by the new NSX supercar. 

Plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars might not yet be ready for the motoring mainstream. They come at a huge financial premium yet offer a shorter usable range than any gasoline-powered equivalent without the supporting infrastructure to be able to re-fill or recharge on a typical journey. 

However, while they're not ready for a grand tour or a long commute, they are already better than anything with an internal combustion engine when it comes to racing over shorter distances. 

To show just how much better, Honda is bringing an electric vehicle concept racer to this year's event in Colorado Springs, Colorado, US on Sunday, June 26. 

This will be the second year in succession that the carmaker has tested an all-electric car at the competition. In 2015, Tetsuya Yamano raced an electric car based on the Honda CR-Z clocking up a class win. For 2016, the event's centenary year, Yamano will drive the NSX-inspired concept looking to repeat the feat. 

"We've been tuning the car for several weeks at Pikes and have advanced its performance significantly," said Yamano. "We're honoured to be running at Pikes in this historical, anniversary year – an event respected by racing fans all over the world." 

The Pikes Peak hill climb consists of 156 corners over 12.42 miles (19.99km) and an elevation that rises from 9390 to 14115 feet (1440-2862 meters). The elevation is important. As the air thins internal combustion engine performance drops – by up to 30% – and as oxygen becomes a rarer atmospheric commodity, drivers' reaction times increase. 

The overall four-wheel course record is held by Sebastian Loeb – the greatest driver of his generation – behind the wheel of his Peugeot World Rally car, but electric cars and bikes are catching on. 

Electric cars deliver 100% acceleration and 100% torque 100% of the time. There is no gearing either so drivers only have to think of acceleration, deceleration and braking, giving them greater mental space to contemplate the road ahead and be absolutely ready for the next turn. 

Honda has been working on a four-motor set up for the race car so that each wheel is independently powered and capable of finding its own grip. It's a concept that's central to the hybrid NSX supercar. And it's an idea that means each wheel can juggle torque and power independently. — AFP Relaxnews

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