AC Propulsion powers Yokohama-sponsored EV to new Pikes Peak record
27 June 2011
|Exposed chassis of the winner. The gold box with the AC Propulsion logo is the AC Propulsion Power Electronics Unit (PEU), which contains power electronics and integrated charger, which supports charging at up to 18 kW. Click to enlarge.|
The Yokohama Tire-sponsored electric race car using AC Propulsion’s proprietary electric drive system broke its own 2010 record at the 89th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The AC Propulsion-equipped vehicle won the hill climb’s Exhibition Class and set a new EV record with a time of 12:20:084, besting last year’s record-breaking time of 13:17:575 by nearly one minute. It was also the race’s fastest EV among both cars and motorcycles.
This year’s Yokohama EV, a rear-wheel drive, open-wheel race car, was built by Summit Motorsports and driven by Japan’s Ikuo Hanawa. It used fuel-efficient Yokohama BluEarth tires and SANYO Electric Co. lithium-ion batteries. The Pikes Peak AC-180 motor, rated at 268 hp (200 kW) at 6000-7000 rpm and 258 lb-ft (350 N·m) of torque from zero to 5000 rpm, is a high-performance version of the AC Propulsion AC-150 motor found in the BMW MINI E.
AC Propulsion engineers developed a high-performance cooling system for the vehicle’s 200-kW induction motor so it could operate at maximum output throughout the ascent up the mountain and break the record set last year with the same motor. (That motor powered the Yokohama-sponsored EV that beat the previous EV record set by Jeri Unser in 2003 by 65 seconds.)
The AC Propulsion Power Electronics Unit (PEU) in the vehicle contains everything except the motor—it provides power to and controls the motor and contains the integrated charging system. The integrated charging system is part of what makes the AC Propulsion system lighter, more efficient and less costly. The PEU also allows vehicles to charge up to 18kW, where the current crop of EVs is charging at 3kW. Finally, the PEU provides 12V power to the vehicle and the vehicle’s V2G (vehicle-to-grid) capability.
The drive system utilizes the proprietary tzero-technology that also powered the MonoTracer MTE-150 to a first place victory in its category and achieved the highest efficiency overall in the 2010 Progressive Automotive X PRIZE.
Now in its 89th year, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds, is the best-known hill climb in the world. Racing to the 4,301-meter summit, participants cover a 12.4-mile course beginning at the 2,862-meter level. The race is famous for the severity of its conditions: rapidly changing temperatures and weather, a combination of tarmac and gravel surfaces and 156 turns.
Our string of Pikes Peak EV records--especially this one, where we are well into the 12-minute bracket--clearly demonstrates that electric vehicles can get up the hill fast. Now that more people are buying EVs, it’s important to offer really good performance. For us, the old racing slogan holds: win on Sunday, sell on Monday.—AC Propulsion CEO Tom Gage
Dropping ~ a minute off a 12 minute record in one year is impressive.
Posted by: kelly | 28 June 2011 at 03:56 PM