Volkswagen: Pikes Peak win proves potential for electric rally cars

Volkswagen Motorsport team principal Sven Smeets believes the manufacturer's Pikes Peak success has showed the World Rally Championship "what's possible" with electric rally cars

Volkswagen: Pikes Peak win proves potential for electric rally cars

Romain Dumas won last Sunday's hillclimb in the manufacturer's electric I.D. R car and set a new record of 7m57.148s in the process, beating Sebastien Loeb's previous best - from 2013, recorded in a 3.2-litre twin-turbo Peugeot - by 16 seconds over the 12.42-mile course.

Prior to its Pikes Peak project, Volkswagen's last factory motorsport effort was its dominant WRC programme. It won four drivers' and manufacturers' titles in a row, the last of which came under Smeets' direction.

The WRC is considering hybrid and electric options for the future, but Autosport understands new regulations remain a long way away.

Smeets said developments in battery technology would strengthen the case for electric rally cars.

"What we did here was make electric cars sexy," he told Autosport. "But at the same time we showed what's possible.

"What we have done proves this new technology has unbelievable potential. This is just the start.

"It will go further and further in the next five years and I'm sure battery manufacturers can put kilometres on top of the speed; I'm sure it will be possible to do a 40- or 50-kilometre stage in electric in some years."

Volkswagen Motorsport technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison said a change of specification of battery for I.D R at the start of the year was evidence of the rate of progress achievable with electric technology.

"When we started the project there was a prototype battery from the supplier," said Demaison.

"We had this in January and then ran two battery development programmes in parallel.

"In the end we went with the new one which was an improvement in energy density - it gave us the same energy for less weight."

shares
comments
Toyota World Rally Championship team open to Kimi Raikkonen testing
Previous article

Toyota World Rally Championship team open to Kimi Raikkonen testing

Next article

Major route revamp for World Rally Championship finale in Australia

Major route revamp for World Rally Championship finale in Australia
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Plus

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport

WRC
16 h
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022