Electric Cars Dominate at Legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb Race

Laurance Yap
July 9, 2024
Pikes Peak is one of the world’s great races because its mountain poses an incredible challenge for drivers and machines – and the rules are very flexible, allowing teams flexibility in design and technology. Electric cars dominated the event in 2024.
EV driving at Pikes Peak

EVs Are Fastest Up Pikes Peak

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the world’s greatest races. Held on a public road that climbs to over 13,000 feet just outside of Colorado Springs, the annual event is a no-holds-barred race that brings together dozens of racers every year, all competing to set the fastest time up the mountain. The race is unique in terms of how open it is to different kinds of vehicles, drivetrain technologies, and drivers, the resulting variety making it an amazing spectacle as well as an immense technical challenge. And this year, Pikes Peak was dominated by electric vehicles, a demonstration of just how far EV technology has come.

car driving at Pikes Peak Hillclimb Race

Ford F-150 Lightning Supertruck

The fastest vehicle up Pikes Peak in the 102nd running of the race was a purpose-built prototype called the Ford F-150 Lightning Supertruck. Powered by a custom-built electric drivetrain producing over 1,600 hp, the Supertruck was piloted by endurance-racing and hill-climb legend Romain Dumas, who has held the record at Pikes Peak numerous times. A co-development between Stohl Advanced Research and Development and Ford, the Supertruck featured aggressive aerodynamics and custom Pirelli P Zero tires as well as top-of-the-line Sparco safety equipment.

How fast was the Supertruck up Pikes Peak? For context, any vehicle that can complete the course in under 10 minutes is considered very fast indeed – and the F-150 Lightning Supertruck completed the course in a stunning 8:53.553 – despite having to stop for 26 seconds when it developed a technical fault and needed to be reset. That made it fastest of all of the 61 entries in the 2024 running of the legendary hill climb, claiming top honors with electric motors and engineering ingenuity.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N TA

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N TA

The Supertruck wasn’t the only significant electric vehicle at this year’s event, however. Hyundai actually fielded three versions of its high-performance Ioniq 5 N: a bone-stock production model as well as two modified versions, called the Ioniq 5 N TA, for Time Attack. The stock production vehicle completed the run up the mountain in just 10 minutes and 49 seconds, which is remarkable for a street car on street tires; the two Ioniq 5 N TA race cars, driven by rally car expert Dani Sordo and racing driver Randy Pobst, finished the course in 9:30.852 and 9:55.551, respectively.

The Ioniq 5 N TA Spec was designed by Hyundai as a special version to highlight the performance capability of the stock Ioniq 5 N with minimal modifications. The two race cars included software tuning to increase the maximum power output beyond the 641 hp of the stock version, slick tires, new shock absorbers, upgraded motorsport-spec brakes, and a roll cage.

Hyundai says that it’s pleased with the Ioniq 5 N’s performance at Pikes Peak, as the event is a great way to prove the capabilities of its high-performance EVs, and a great place to continuously challenge the new technology in its cars. The company says it will continue to launch special race-spec models like the Ioniq 5 N TA Spec to broaden the horizons of electric race cars.

Rivian R1T

Rivian also entered an R1T pickup truck with the all-new, quad-motor drivetrain in the exhibition class. While Gardner Nichols’ time of 10:53.883 is over four seconds more than the production-spec Ioniq 5 N, it’s an impressive time for a pickup that weighs significantly more, and isn’t nearly as aerodynamic as the Hyundai. The time is significantly faster than the three-motor version that Rivian entered previously – and also set a record for the fastest production pickup truck up the mountain.

Front view of a Tesla Model 3 driving through canyon roads

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