Faraday Future’s FF 91, which we already knew it was doing important development testing at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this past weekend, also managed to impress everyone with a new record for “production” EVs.
There’s a grey area there – last year’s record holder, a Tesla Model S P90D was stripped out but otherwise unmodified. Equally, the FF 91 is actually a Beta development test vehicle, with software and hardware “representative” of the production version. They did manage an impressive feat – since the Tesla time has been improved by more than 20 seconds, with the time of 11:25.083. Pikes Peak is of course one of the best known hillclimbs in the world, and also longest-running races, reaching its 95th edition since way back in 1916. It’s also famous for being unforgiven – and the FF91 record is even better this way because the car was driven by an engineer, not a professional driver.
The electric SUV had to go up through a 156-turn, 12.42 mile-long (20km) track which has an elevation of 4,720ft/1,440m and averages a 7.2% vertical grade. Until 2011, the track was extreme – largely unpaved on dirt or gravel roads, and it was common for cars and motorcycles to get out of the beaten track into the woods for some bear hunting, or worse, tumbling down the mountain while “bird watching”. Electric cars should have the advantage here, since the race kicks off at 9,390 feet (2,862m) and ends at 14,110ft (4,300m), with the thin air causing aerodynamic and ICE problems. But electric motors are just as efficient no matter the elevation, so the electric car lap record is better than any car category save for the “unlimited” prototype category.