Near-Stock Tesla Model S P90D Sets New Pikes Peak Record

1 year ago by Mark Kane 46

Tesla Model S P90D at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Tesla Model S P90D at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Tesla Model S P90D at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Tesla Model S P90D at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Dispelling the notion that a Tesla Model isn’t suitable for racing is this new world record for a “Production Electric Car” set at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Yes, a ton of ice was utilized to cool the battery as much as possible prior to the race, but regardless of that, Blake Fuller, founder and CEO of Go Puck wearable battery packs, set a new Production Electric Car record in a Tesla Model S P90D at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

His time was 11 minutes and 48.264 seconds, which placed him 64th overall. Nothing to brag about really, but in the “Production Electric Car” group, he bested the previous record (12 minutes 55.591 second) set by a Honda Fit EV by well over 1 minute.

As you can see in the photo above, Fuller’s team developed a super high-tech, special cooling system to prevent overheating of the battery pack. Hmm…could this be employed for a Tesla at the Nurburgring as well?

The car itself was a stock (despite reports to the contrary) Tesla Model S with cage – previous reports suggested a new battery for better performance. Lots of weight was removed though. Something like 800 pounds, according to the race team.

For some additional details on the Pikes Peak Model S, check out this Fast Lane Car feature video.

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46 responses to "Near-Stock Tesla Model S P90D Sets New Pikes Peak Record"

  1. SparkEV says:

    800 lb lighter than stock, cooled to almost freezing temp, yet it only did 1 minute (8%) better than Fit EV? If it was totally stock, and no ice cooling, would it have even beat Fit EV? What mod did Fit EV have?

    1. Bryan says:

      I saw the FitEV and it was highly modified. Stripped and suspension was aftermarket. The battery, motor and reduction gear were all stock but that was about it.

    2. Goaterguy says:

      One minute in a race is a lifetime…

      1. SparkEV says:

        Look at it this way. If a Geo Metro ran the race and a Corvette with weight savings and some “tricks” to improve performance did it only 8% quicker, one would wonder WTF happened.

        Meanwhile, many gas powered “similar modified level” cars (TA2) did minutes quicker, one of which is a Dodge (#23). Tesla lost to Al Bundy’s car! I hope Tesla does better in the future.

    3. Tech01x says:

      Here are some pics of that Honda Fit EV set up for racing at Pike’s Peak:

      http://www.trackhq.com/forums/f368/honda-fit-ev-pikes-peak-hill-climb-6215/

  2. Hirotoro says:

    Doesn’t seem that impressive to me. The fact it was only 10% faster than a silly little Honda Fit is actually quite embarassing. It should have utterly destroyed the little Honda.

    1. Big Solar says:

      a minute is a lot of time in a 12 minute race.

    2. sven says:

      You should probably compare the times of the Tesla in the Electric Production Class to the times of the ICE cars in the Time Attack Production Class. The 2017 Acura NSX hybrid won that class with a time of 10:28.820, while the Tesla had a time of 11:48.264.

      http://ppihc.livetiming.net/ppihc/

      http://www.ppihc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016-PPIHC-Competitor-List.pdf

    3. Charles Fischer says:

      I think the main reason why the fit ev did relatively well against the tesla is because of battery pack size. The larger battery of the tesla is heavier and it doesn’t help it’s time that it has enough energy to do the course many times over.

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    They managed to pull 800 lbs. out of a Model S and still left it in drive-able condition?

    That’s an impressive achievement! I’d love to see a list of what was removed.

    “Hmm… could this be employed for a Tesla at the Nurburgring as well?”

    Sure, as long as the run doesn’t last more than 12 minutes. Someone did a flat-out run in a Model S on the Autobahn for 12 minutes without the car going into reduced power mode, too. So far as I know, that didn’t even require ice cooling before the run.

    Longer than 12 minutes seems to be the barrier for using a Model S for racing. Let’s remember that it ain’t a race car, despite all the attention on drag racing in a Model S.

    Lots of us are hoping that the next-gen Tesla Roadster will do better when used as an actual racetrack car!

    1. John says:

      Racing and Autobahn are not the same.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        But if you drive in an “unlimited” lane on the Autobahn, then just like on the racetrack, your goal is to run the car as close to its maximum speed as you can, for as much of the trip as you can.

        Sure, there are differences. Ideally, there shouldn’t be a lot of slowing down and speeding up on the Autobahn. But there are also important similarities.

        1. arne-nl says:

          The Model S is top speed limited, so running it ‘flat out’ on the Autobahn does not mean it is at full power constantly.

          Running it full power is more what you do on a race track, accelerating out of curves. Even more so on an inclined race track that only goes upward.

          1. Brave Lil Toaster says:

            I like how people like to think that the electronic governor on the Tesla (and other EVs) has absolutely nothing to do with how you could otherwise ask its motor to rev past the point where it would explode. It’s not like the redline of 16,000 RPM is well past what any civilian gas engine is capable of or anything.

            You might be able to easily balance electric motors better than gas, but there are limits.

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              “I like how people like to think that the electronic governor on the Tesla (and other EVs) has absolutely nothing to do with how you could otherwise ask its motor to rev past the point where it would explode. It’s not like the redline of 16,000 RPM is well past what any civilian gas engine is capable of or anything.”

              Top speed is often limited by the motor and only somewhat limited by the battery in terms of max Voltage.

              However the heat generated by acceleration and regen can heat up the battery faster than top speed.

              Also, at top speed, you supposes to also cool better…

        2. Fabian says:

          John is right, the physical demands placed on the entire car’s drive train, body, and energy systems during a real ‘twisty’ race track is LEAPS beyond anything you would get on the
          Autobahn. In this respect, the Model S is not a good race car choice.

        3. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “But if you drive in an “unlimited” lane on the Autobahn, then just like on the racetrack, your goal is to run the car as close to its maximum speed as you can, for as much of the trip as you can.”

          Top speed is relatively easy due to the fact that it was limited by the electric motor max rpm and max voltage from the battery.

          However, when you are on the race tracks, you are often under max acceleration which demands max power out of the battery and max regen during braking. Those actions would heat up the battery far faster.

          Also, higher average speed helps cooling, but the race track aren’t necessarily will have higher average speed. Unless you are doing NASCAR…

  4. D says:

    How exactly is this a “near-stock” Tesla?

    Wasn’t is yesterday that you guys stated “Details still remain limited, but we do know that this S has been heavily modified and includes a significantly lighter battery pack.”

    Don’t get me wrong it’s still great but how about some consistency…

    1. Jay Cole says:

      We can only report what is passed on to us via first hand accounts/sources (in this case CarScoops). It is true that we were not there ourselves in Colorado in pre-qualifying to verify first hand what was stated a month prior was accurate, but I think you might allow that is also a pretty unreasonable expectation at the same time.

      The best we can do is acknowledge any wrong information clearly and immediately as it is presented, and then put the story in proper context. I believe this article more than addresses the earlier mis-representation of the Model S:

      “The car itself was a stock (despite reports to the contrary) Tesla Model S with cage – previous reports suggested a new battery for better performance. Lots of weight was removed though. Something like 800 pounds, according to the race team.”

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        Jay, doesn’t the Tesla try to maintain a pretty tight temperature for its battery, even when unplugged?

        In other words, wouldn’t trying to cool it like this just cause the thermal system to try and heat the battery? Or did they have some method to prevent this?

        1. wraithnot says:

          Tesla doesn’t provide too many details on this sort of thing, but someone posted a screenshot of the service screen on a Model S: http://cleantechnica.com/2016/02/13/tesla-model-s-service-screens-exposed/

          From this, it doesn’t look like this particular car runs the battery heater until the battery temp is below 2C. I doubt the bags of ice under the battery could get the battery temp lower than 2C to cause the heater to kick on.

      2. D says:

        So in your opinion a Tesla that has had 800 lbs removed and chilled on bags of ice before a run is “near stock”?

        I wasn’t saying anything about the battery as you even brought up the reference to the old story and how it was corrected just that rather a car that has 20% of it’s weight reduced (after the addition of a roll cage even) isn’t really “near stock”.

        1. ffbj says:

          Roll cage required by the race admin.
          Seats and airbags were pulled. Except for the drivers seat. Probably about as close to stock as you can get, more so than most other racers. Colonel Mustard, with the hammer, in the kitchen. Clues. Get One.

          1. Jay Cole says:

            D,

            Actually your comment only mentioned the battery/heavy modifications and nothing of the weight, you have only know added that context:

            D said,
            June 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm (Edit)

            How exactly is this a “near-stock” Tesla?

            Wasn’t is yesterday that you guys stated “Details still remain limited, but we do know that this S has been heavily modified and includes a significantly lighter battery pack.”

            Don’t get me wrong it’s still great but how about some consistency…

            There was nothing at all mentioned about the 800lbs in reference from you … I responded to what was written as a representative of the site. Not sure anyone could assume/infer that you were actually talking about the 800lb weight reduction from what you wrote. I would note, that all the stories published on this car have consistently mentioned the weight reduction.

            You have an opinion on what a weight reduction means to the term “near stock” and we respect that, but we have been pretty steadfast in our take/opinion on that, throughout the 3 stories on this car:

            When it was thought the battery altered/car modified we said we were not sure it would/should qualify. When it was learned there was no fundamental changes, just the deletion of extra components (more or less) from a stock set up (and the mandatory add of a cage), we felt it did, and went with “near stock” in the title of this story.

            As the car did run in the “Produce Electric Car” class, it would seem the PPIHC would seem to agree. You do have a point, and who is to say it is not right? But it really isn’t so obvious to the extent that we need to be called on the carpet for it, and also given a jab at the same time don’t you think? It’s a fun little story about a rich dude entering his Model S into Pike’s Peak…not debating the merits/extension of the $7500 US EV tax credit.

  5. georges says:

    I’d love to see a plot of battery temp during the race. Is it possible to pull it up for display??

    Is there such a thing as a Dashdaq for the model S? I had one for my volt and I could pull up all kinds of interesting data.

  6. Trollnonymous says:

    I have to ask now, what exactly did they remove to get 800lbs lighter?

    1. VazzedUp says:

      All other seats, center console, trim from frunk, trunk, headliner, HVAC, cabin air ducts and filters etc etc.
      I didn’t see this car, but similar was done for the Honda Fit EV. All that was left for the fit was the pedals, steering wheel and a lightweight race seat (oh and fire extinguisher and big emergency stop button).

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Thanks muchly, VazzedUp! 🙂

          Wow! When they said stripped (actually, the article says, “lots of weight was removed”) they weren’t kidding, were they!

          Maybe race fans would call that car “near stock”, but –I– would not. I guess it’s a “stock” car in the way that NASCAR race cars are “stock” cars.

  7. Orygun EV driver says:

    “Production” is sort of a deceptive term.
    All entries must have a roll cage, all seats removed with single racing seat added, 5-7 point racing harness, fire suppression system, sealed battery compartment with 10cfm forced air system, quick release steering wheel, steering locks removed, carpet removed, airbags removed/disabled, plus lots of other small modifications.

    1. sven says:

      Those are all safety modifications since the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a very dangerous race on a close public road. There are no guard rails on some turns that have a steep drops hundreds of feet down the mountainside.

      The “Production” in Production Class refers to the drivetrain. The rules for Production Class race cars prohibit changing or modifying the drivetrain except for what is allowed for under the rules.

      Below is video of one horrific crash where the car rolled over and tumbled down the mountainside like they were in a washing machine. The driver and navigator managed to crawl out and walk away from what seemed like an unsurvivable crash.

      1. sven says:

        Here’s video of a bunch of other Pikes Peak Hill climb crashes.

        1. Phr≡d says:

          Thanks Sven, for the reminder – this is a road that Everyone should drive once, an amazing engineering feat and not to be underestimated even at ‘correct’ speed limits.

  8. Koenigsegg says:

    The significance of this…. there is none

  9. Brian says:

    I wonder if Tesla would consider an option to pre-cool the battery pack to the lowest temperature allowable. It seems like it would be easy enough with only a software update; they already have active cooling, right?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      That might be worth doing for racing with an EV which uses a refrigerant-based battery cooling system, like the Volt, but I question it would do much for a Model S, which uses a water/glycol (antifreeze) based cooling system. That’s designed to remove a lot of waste heat quickly, but so far as I know, it can’t be used to bring the battery pack core temperature down below ambient temperature.

      If I’m wrong on this, I’d appreciate someone correcting me.

      1. Cosmacelf says:

        The coolant is glycol but it runs through a heat exchanger with the AC system so the coolant can indeed be below ambient.

    2. JakeY says:

      This had been suggested multiple times in the Tesla forums. But Tesla obviously has other far more important things to focus on at this point in terms of software updates (mainly autopilot related).

  10. Jon says:

    They should just use a refrigerated or freezer truck. then everything would be cooled and even down to 0°F if desired. Even if performance was worse at that temp, it could be made up later in the run.

    1. D says:

      That is actually quite a good idea. Just roll up in a refrigerated truck, back it out, and take off. Has to be less hassle than getting tons of bags of ice to pre cool it 🙂

    2. sven says:

      Meh. Cool it with liquid hydrogen. 😉

  11. Speculawyer says:

    I love that low-tech battery cooling hack!

  12. Donald Rober says:

    Works for the battery. Not a good idea for the tires.

  13. Phr≡d says:

    Dear Elon,
    Please consider a ‘Sahara’ package, akin to the current ‘cold weather’ package. Enlist your R&D to develop a cooling regiment that can withstand biowarfare – AC directs All efforts to glycol to cool drivetrain via a switch in software.
    Sincerely,
    Race Teams

  14. Just_Chris says:

    Ice? Why? The problem is regen neutering that would be far more effective. You can discharge a battery far faster than charging it. Buy a non D tesla and make the front brakes heavy.

  15. Charles Fischer says:

    I think the main reason why the fit ev did relatively well against the tesla is because of battery pack size. The larger battery of the tesla is heavier and it doesn’t help it’s time that it has enough energy to do the course many times over.