Nissan Leaf takes historic Pikes Peak win
Under beautiful blue skies at the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb yesterday, veteran Nissan off-road truck racing champion Chad Hord and the 100 percent electric Nissan LEAF™ made history as the first winners of the Electric Production Class. The Nissan LEAF™ completed the run with a time of 14 minutes 33 seconds for the 12.42 mile run. Even though the Nissan LEAF™ was virtually stock except for interior safety modifications and more aggressive wheels and tires, it out ran several competitors with highly modified internal combustion engines.
The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs internal combustion engines of up to 30% of their power at the summit but the Nissan LEAF’s™ electric motor is not impacted by the thin air. It produces the same amount of power at the start and the summit.
The Nissan LEAF™ zipped from corner to corner in near silence other than the sound of squealing tires and the high pitched sound of a warning beeper installed at the request of the race organizers to warn spectators and workers. The Nissan LEAF™ comes from the factory with a pedestrian warning system that is active up to about 30 miles per hour but since the Nissan LEAF™ was traveling much faster on the course a supplemental system was a good way to warn those along the course that it was approaching.