It will be a monster smackdown between two of the quickest and fastest electric cars in the world as they challenge the so-called Race to the Clouds in June 2017. So, which would it be -- a Tesla or a Faraday?
To set things straight first, the fastest vehicle to complete the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb course – measuring around 12.42 grueling miles – isn’t an electric car, but a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak piloted by Sebastien Loeb. The fastest of the Pikes Peak completed the hill climb run in just eight minutes and 13.878 seconds in 2013. Electric vehicles have been trying to challenge the Pikes Peak even before Loeb made the new record.
While there was a year (2015) that an electric car driven by Rhys Millen won all classes at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, this unit failed to break the speed record. Millen’s eO PP03 only managed to post a course time of 9 minutes and 7.222 seconds. In 2016, Millen improved his own time, driving an e0 PP100 to a new electric car record of eight minutes and 57.118 seconds.
However, Millen’s units are all modified electric cars specifically made to challenge the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Technically, the fastest production electric car – until now – on the Pikes Peak is a Tesla Model S P90D driven by Blake Fuller. This record was set in 2016, with Fuller driving the Tesla Model S P90D from 9,390 ft. (2,862 meters) to 14,110 ft. (4,300 meters), both above sea level.
Actually, electric cars have a certain definitive advantage in hill climb events like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. These are affected by atmospheric density or air density. As you go higher, the surrounding air is also thinner or less dense. For an ordinary conventional engine, thinner air means less compression since less oxygen and other matter gets drawn into the cylinders. As a general rule of thumb, this means that the engine loses between three to four percent of its power (output and torque) for every 1,000 feet above sea level. At Pikes Peak, the actual dynamics of a combustion engine is only 71 percent of its supposed power level at the starting line, and only 59 percent on the finish line. However, turbochargers and superchargers could mitigate this effect.
As for electric cars, their performance isn’t dependent on air density, but rather on the battery power and electric motor output. This is one of the reasons why it would be very exciting to see a 2017 Tesla Model S P100D – as tuned by Unplugged Performance and driven by 2011 Formula Drift Champion Daijiro Yoshihara – go up against the promising Faraday Future FF 91 that will be piloted by Robin Shute, 2016 Formula Car Challenge Triple Crown National Champion as well as Formula Pro Mazda winner. The FF 91 is the same car recently previewed at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Powered by 130 kWh battery pack, the FF 91 is capable of delivering up to 1,050 hp and 1,800 Nm of torque.
The showdown between the Faraday Future FF 91 and Tesla Model S P100D is definitely one of the things to wait for at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. So, which car do you think has the advantage?