Tesla Model S tackles Pikes Peak, setting a new record in the process

What may be the first Tesla Model S race car set a record for production electric vehicles at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The modified Model S was driven by Blake Fuller, founder and CEO of Go Puck, a company that makes wearable battery packs.

Pikes Peak 2016: Acura NSX scores class win at Pikes Peak

Fuller managed to complete the 12.42-mile course in 11:48.264, setting a record for the Electric Production class. While Pikes Peak also has classes for purpose-built race machines, this class is for electric vehicles based on showroom models. The sub-12-minute time beat the previous record of around 13 minutes set by a Zero electric motorcycle, and placed the Tesla 65th overall, according to Electrek.

Go Puck’s racer was a Model S P90D, with the largest battery pack, 762 horsepower, and all-wheel drive. The car was modified for race duty, but not too drastically. The interior was stripped bare, and a roll cage was added. Go Puck claims the Model S shed 800 pounds, but that means the car was still dragging around a substantial amount of weight. High-speed running also put a strain on the battery pack, to the point that the team had to place bags of ice under the car to cool it off.

Pikes Peak is one of the few motor sport events where electric cars have a clear advantage. The short runs don’t tax battery capacity, while at the same time high altitude makes it harder for internal-combustion engines to make power. An electric car won the event overall last year, and came in second this year.

The 2016 overall winner was Romain Dumas, who came to Pikes Peak fresh off winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche. Driving a custom-built, Honda-engined Norma M20 RD Limited, he scampered up the mountain in 8:51.445. Not far behind was 2015 winner Rhys Millen and his electric Drive eO PP03. Millen’s 8:57.118 time wasn’t good enough for the win, but he did set a record in the Electric Modified class.

The Model S may get a chance to race at other venues soon. A group of promoters plan to kick off the Electric GT World Series next year, with 10 teams each fielding two of the Tesla sedans. Other electric cars may be invited to participate eventually, but the Model S’s emphasis on performance made it the obvious choice to launch the series.


Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.