Toyota’s EV racer heads for the hill

Superstar race driver Rod Millen will return to the legendary Pikes Peak Hillclimb with Toyota on 30th June.

Millen will take to the wheel of the electrically powered TMG built EV P002, in an attempt to defend the car’s 2012 class win and title.

The 61-year old New Zealander has triumphed at the event nine times in the past, setting a string of record breaking race times in the process in his outlandish Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

The Tacoma, officially one of the fastest Toyota racing cars ever built, offered an 800bhp, turbocharged 2.1 litre engine. It completed the old 12.42-mile, 156-turn gravel course at Pikes Peak in 10 minutes 4.2 seconds, a record that stands to this day.

Toyota’s TMG EV P002 electric race car offers comparable performance, thanks to its 400Kw electric motor. Offering a staggering 1200Nm of torque, it’s capable of a top speed of 144mph.

It will race on a very different track than that offered in the past. For starters, the whole route has been covered in asphalt, placing new demands on tyres and aerodynamics. As a result, the car has been in the USA since May, testing for the event.

The first two days of testing, supported by engineers from TMG and TRD USA, focused initially on driver comfort and systems checks.

Millen said; “The balance was very good and the car behaved predictably at all times. This race car is unique and I really appreciated the seat time in the car. This gave me the chance to learn about the advanced electric powertrain capabilities and I could experience how the car changes over a race distance. Even when the tyres were past their best at the end the car was still fast and controllable. Now I am looking forward to driving an electric race car at Pikes Peak for the first time.”

Testing has since moved to focus on set-up evaluation along with work on the aerodynamics, powertrain and cooling system, while a new carbon ceramic brake system was also analysed.

The TMG electric powertrain ran faultlessly throughout while the new aerodynamic package produced a three-fold increase in total downforce. The reduced weight of the car compared to last years’ configuration also contributed to an overall performance improvement.

Steve Wickham, TRD Vice President, Chassis Operations said; “I am encouraged with the reliability and performance shown so far. Rod is happy with the car and I am looking forward to see how we stack up on the Mountain compared to last year and more importantly the strong EV competition.

“The multinational team from TRD and TMG are working together well which is critical for me as team manager especially as the Mountain schedule is so mentally and physically demanding on all of us. All of the many individual improvements in downforce, braking and powertrain we have made to the car seem to working well together. The team is ready to step up to the challenge; we all badly want to retain our title in the EV class.”

The next stage in the car’s preparation comes with the first tests at Pikes Peak on 15-16 June, prior to the event itself on 30 June.

TMG EV P002 Technical Specifications
Top Speed230 km/h
Maximum Torque1200Nm
Maximum Power400kW
Maximum Revs6000rpm
Electric Motor2 axial flux
Inverter2 x TMG inverters
Gear Ratio3.13
TransmissionSingle-reduction gearing
BatteryLithium ceramic
Battery Capacity42 kWh
Charging TechnologyOff-boardDC charging

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