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Volkswagen sets all-time Pikes Peak record

by Ronan Glon

Volkswagen wanted to beat the EV record; it ended up winning the race.

When Volkswagen set its sights on the annual Pikes Peak hill climb, it merely wanted to break the standing record for electric cars. The German brand's I.D. R went fast enough to win this year's edition of the race outright and set a new overall record.

French pilot Romain Dumas drove the I.D. R up Pikes Peak in seven minutes and 57 seconds. He broke the previous record -- set in 2013 by Sebastien Loeb -- by 16 seconds. He also beat the previous electric car record by an entire minute.

"The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the sporty forerunner of Volkswagen's I.D. family. Today, we saw what this technology is capable of," said Frank Welsch, Volkswagen's board member responsible for technical development.

Volkswagen developed and built the I.D. R in just eight months, though Dumas told Leftlane he started testing the powertrain in a heavily-modified Golf shell last fall. Power comes from an immense lithium-ion battery pack that feeds a motor mounted over each axle, a configuration which delivers 680 horsepower. It weighs about 2,400 pounds thanks to the widespread use of carbon fiber and it's capable of hitting 62 mph from a stop in about 2.2 seconds.

Officials stress the I.D. R is a technology demonstrator, meaning it won't reach showrooms as-is. We wouldn't be surprised to see it influence a production model in some way in the coming years.