Nissan at Pikes Peak
The 89th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb crowned not only a new champion, but also added a new class of vehicles to this year’s event. The Nissan Leaf took the high road and became the first winner of the Electric Division for the climb up Pike’s Peak. While that time doesn’t break any records held by highly modified internal combustion engine cars, the Nissan Leaf was almost stock. With only safety gear, race ready wheels, and tires added to the vehicle, professional driver Chad Hord quietly steered the Nissan Leaf through the 12.4 mile course up the mountain. The Leaf was virtually silent and only produced the sound of screeching tires and a high pitch beeper that was installed to warn spectators that an EV was approaching.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb begins at 9,390 feet, consists of gravel and pavement through 156 turns, finishing at the 14,110-foot summit.
CHAD HORD: Being the first production electric car up the hill was, it was awesome. And then you know kind of looking at the board of some of the other times of you know high horse power cars that we had beat, so not only did the car just go up the hill to show the consumer that, “hey this car conquered pike’s peak,” we just set a benchmark and I think now everybody’s going to be chasing for it.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: The Leaf did best some more traditional competitors due to the thin air at the top of the summit which can lower internal combustion engine power by up to 70 percent. Thin air was no problem for the Nissan Leaf and its electric motor that produced the same level of power from start to finish.
CHAD HORD: But then as I sat up there through the day and see other cars coming up the hill. They’ve break the plain, they’re smoking, some you’d see a big gap between cars, some of them didn’t make it. So it wasn’t just the fact that the car made it up the hill, the battery life, when we came back down it was at 54 percent, we could have turned around and did it again. At the end of the day, I mean you can’t be more happy.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Nissan entered the Leaf in the Pikes Peak Competition to show what pure EV technology can do in one of the most storied and challenging events in motorsports.