Volkswagen announced today that it’s developing an all-wheel-drive electric race car to compete at next year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The goal? Set a new hill climb record for electric cars.
But Volkswagen says it’s about more than setting a record. This project is also about working to transform Volkswagen’s image as an automaker. In the wake of the massive diesel emissions scandal, VW is investing heavily in electric technology. By 2025, it claims it will offer 23 different all-electric vehicles.
“The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies,” said Frank Welsch, VW’s head of development. “Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test posed by Pikes Peak will give us important feedback that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies.”
Plus, the last time VW attempted the Pikes Peak hill climb, things didn’t go quite as well as it had hoped. The twin-engined Golf it entered didn’t quite make it to the end of the 12.4-mile course. “It is high time for a rematch,” said Sven Smeets, VW’s head of motorsports.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb takes place June 24, 2018. To set a new record, Volkswagen’s electric race car will have to beat Rhys Millen’s time of 8:57.118.