Electrical Storm:</br> Millen Wins Pikes Peak In An EV

The idea of an electric vehicle winning the famed Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – and in the third quickest (full course) outright time – is somewhat hard to comprehend, yet that’s exactly what happened over the weekend when Rhys Millen drive the eO PP03 into the record books.

Over the past few years we’ve seen battery-powered vehicles of both the two and four-wheeled variety go progressively quicker up the high-altitude, 12.42 mile (19.99km), 156-corner course, but Millen’s 9:07.222 sets a new standard for EV performance at the Race to the Clouds. Not that he was entirely happy about it…


As it turns out, a technical issue saw 50 per cent of the car’s available power being cut for more than half of the ascent – something that Millen says cost him almost 30 seconds. Based on times set in testing, 8:38 was the 2015 target time for the Red Bull, Hankook and Pennzoil supported driver – still some way off Sébastien Loeb’s record-crushing 8:13.878 set in 2013 driving Peugeot’s 208 T16 Pikes Peak, but a stark indication of how rapidly EV race technology is progressing. To put it into perspective, the second-ever quickest full-course run up Pikes Peak Highway was set last year by Romain Dumas driving a Norma M20 RD (Honda HPD K20 turbo powered – 450hp/610kg). Dumas’ winning time was 9:05.801 – only 1.421 seconds quicker than Millen’s time this year.


Could a future derivative of this car be capable of bettering Loeb’s record? It looks a lot more likely now, but it could still be more than a few years away… As it stands though, the eO PP03’s spec is very impressive. Outputting 1,367hp (1,020kW) through six YASA-400 electric motors powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and tipping the scales at 1,150kg (2,535lbs) thanks to a steel tube spaceframe chassis wrapped in carbon fibre, its power to weight ratio of 1.2hp/kg already betters that of the 205 T16 Pikes Peak. No wonder Millen says it’s the most powerful car he’s ever driven.

You can bet that Drive eO – the Latvian-based engineering company behind the eO PP03 and a specialist in EV race technology – will return to Colorado for the Broadmoor PPIHC in 2016 with Millen, to show what they’re truly capable of together. In the meantime, you can check out this on-car clip of the winning (and record-setting) run from the weekend.

The Speedhunters

Photos by Alastair Ritchie / Drive eO



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Really wish they didnt pave the whole thing. Millen has always been a fierce competitor. Good to see him staying that way even if it is in an EV.


I'm not an EV-powered fan but, I do like what I've seen of this machine.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

If your not a fan of the now paved Pikes Peak, the 'Race to the sky' in New Zealand is definitely your thing.


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Race to the Sky was Cancelled a couple of weeks back unfortunately.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

It wasn't cancelled mate, Alistair McRae won in Possum Bourne's resurrected WRC WRX.


I am so sad that I missed this years race. Hopefully I can be back next year.


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Wasn't that the last one ever?


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Future races have been cancelled because the surrounding land owners are shortsighted wankers


Larry Chen and I was waiting patiently for your content to be uploaded... Sad much.


Nick. Who would like to see Tesla coils and hyperdrive for contents of an engine bay?

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Yeah heard something about that, pitty.


What an amazing result. Half the field will be EV within a few seasons... I get my new I3 in a couple of weeks. Times, they are a'changing...


That thing is insanely good and made me feel sad at the same time, It's soo quick and yet so soulless and is this really the future of motorsport? Ridiculously annoying sirens at each blind bend being the only indication that a 1000hp+ animal of a machine is approaching???

RIP - the soul of motorsport....




Well congratulations but i really was hoping for Monster tajima to get the win. he's been doing the EV Thing for a while now and really always was ahead others in the past years when it Comes to Technology. next year maybe :D


Impressive weight of just 1150kg. Insane.


Latvian quality :D :D


Awesome! EVs don't struggle with lack of oxygen.


BlairMurphy I think that siren is attached to the vehicle so that people can hear it coming since there's no sound produced by the vehicle itself. Maybe the only time you hear it in the video is becuase in the turns he slows down enough to where the wind noise isn't over-powering the cameras mic?


koko san This is where these things will soar above gas or diesel. The first sections wont be crazy faster when turbo cars still make good power but once altitude starts stepping in gas is doomed.


BlairMurphy The Pikes Peak Celica is much more fun to watch, and more importantly, to listen to.


BlairMurphy The sound... the fury... that's the allure of motorsport, not its soul. It's not what gives it life; it's the sign that it is alive and sprightly.


Had this discussion with a Twitter friend who was at the Formula-E race in London & said its not until you have no noise U realise how much it's part of the attraction of LIVE motorsports!


Alastair is the best PPIHC photographer/tour guide in the world!


That's insanely impressive. I must say the lack of engine noise really does kill it for me a bit, all I can hear is the EV whir and wind!


Apparently (as I was înformed at last years event) the siren is fitted to EV cars so you can hear them coming because a woman was hit by an EV in while filming it in 2013 and then successfully sued  saying she didn't hear it coming!!!!!!. It's a fantastic achievement but the engine sound makes or breaks a race car it's the soul of the car


watched a little, amazing and boring at the same time, quick but meh, like F1, the soul is not there, nothing gets your blood up like a well developed engine with a great exhaust note, up and down shifts, tires at their limits, av gas fumes, it's a package. Sorry, if this is the way things are going RIP motorsport. Watch Skydance on Youtube again and tell me i am wrong.


MikeHawkins Best rally movie/video ever.....the dirt over the lip in the ditch.....hand up covering face from sun....my goodness.


Naun00021 I am from Latvia and am wery proud of guys who build this car because they are sort of pioneers at what they doo preaviosly they where first to build a hybrid car that finished dakar race. And btw "Latvian quality" brought them first place place this year even on half the power so it seams more like the case of  groupe B raly cars when the drivers where to slow for the cars not other way around


UWerqxTeam_MJ BlairMurphy

I have to disagree. Motorsport is alive for sure, but electric motorsport is soulless. 

Here is a definition for soul: emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.

Electric motorsport completely lacks any emotional intensity, don't get me wrong I love the technology and achievements made, Iv'e been following the TT Zero since it started and ride an electric skateboard regularly so I get the technology and its benefits. 

But you don't get that spine tingling feeling of hearing something howling in the distance, the changes in pitch that conveys  the cars struggle for grip across different surfaces or tells as it bangs up and down gears. 
you will never get that  that period where your brain searches to match the sound you hear in the distance and tries to preempt what kind of machine is about to come hurtling around the corner. you don't get that feeling of brutally loud exhausts resonating through your chest, so you as a bystander can "feel" the raw power of the machine.

It is these things that make a bystander/fan feel included in the action, electric motorsport has none of that intensity.

Formula E is the perfect example, it is a hollow and soulless copy of Formula 1 and lacks all of the emotional excitement of the latter.

we may just have different understandings of the term Soul


BlairMurphy I think we are not fair. Its not like initial racing cars sounded good. They sounded like crapy tractors. Even some first formulas sounded weird. Maybe over time something will change/evolve. For example different materials might cause different notes/resonance and "drama" might increase.

Furthermore, kids who are growing up with trending e-cars might see beauty and soul in different light than we who are raised in screaming V12 or mumbling V8...


Nick. I actually like how everything is clean and in order. Look some of engine bays of racing cars and bunch of wires or piping makes total mess.


dagmaz BlairMurphy Yeah I totally agree with this, I certainly hope it's true. 

I guess it's like the first cars tried to look like horse drawn carriages because that's what people recognised. and over time they evolved into their own thing.

the advances that e-power vehicles are making are incredible and if they can find a way to increase the "drama" and bring the feeling into it, it'd be awesome


Excuse me, but since the route was entirely paved, never to race will be as before. The excitement was replaced by security. The courage by fear. It is not wrong. It is sensible. But I truly believe that the races were created to overcome the man on the machine, and today unfortunately that has transformed only in a very fast ride.




KeithEdwards the sirens you hear in the video are corner markers


hypodermic Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Damn, I really wanted to go one day.


BlairMurphy It's interesting because the first year of the EVs didn't have any sound at all. I liked that much better, and they actually sounded pretty cool.


Paulo1967 It's much more dangerous now than ever before, due to it being paved, plus how bumpy it is now. Before the road was so wide you could mess up and there was still runoff. Now it's a thin strip of asphalt that you can go much faster on.


christ.. this thing is savage


Just think the car used the smaller motors available from YASA to make the run.


Impressive! Looking slow typically equals fast. I am trying very hard to like this EV thing.
The on-board YouTube video is a feast of the senses not unlike watching broccoli steam in a microwave.
$60,000 worth of motive power?
Last I read, those Yasa motors are $10,000 each. Seems like an innovative design.


BlairMurphy UWerqxTeam_MJ 
That has to be the most beautiful summation of all my numerous obvious and subconscious gripes with this.
Im cool with EV motorsport, but put em in a separate class, because I don't care about watching them replace all teh amazing combustion engine cars I love. Sometimes it isnt about what's the fastest... F1 cars ahve looked silly and absurd and stupid and soulless for a decade now. I cant care about it anymore. If this is the future of motorsport I really worry.


Just looked up the torque figures - 2160Nm! Insane!


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