Category Archives: Vehicle
Honda is hitting the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in this experimental CR-Z with an electric powertrain driving and steering all four wheels up the twisting mountain route. Honda is running a CR-Z at Pikes Peak this year. But as you might have guessed, this is no ordinary CR-Z. This particular racing prototype packs an experimental powertrain.
Though precise technical specifications remain a closely guarded secret at this point, our source at Honda has confirmed a few key details. For starters, the CR-Z racer packs a fully electric powertrain, ditching the 1.5-liter inline-four that forms the internal-combustion component of the street-legal model’s hybrid propulsion system. This contrary to circulating rumors that it could be packing the hybrid powertrain from the new NSX.
Whatever the details of the electric motor (or motors) on board, they’ll be driving and steering all four wheels through Honda’s proprietary Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) systems. The technologies ought to make the CR-Z racer pretty adept at tackling the 156 twists and turns of the world-famous Race to the Clouds. The aero package is obviously pretty aggressive as well, and the bodywork appears to have been modified to an even greater extent than the carbon-fiber prototype we drove in Japan.
Driving duties will be handled by Tetsuya Yamano, a Japanese driver known in the Super GT series (where he won the GT300 title in 2004 in an NSX) and for running Civics in Gymkhana events back in the 90s. It’ll be competing in the Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class, but the idea behind the CR-Z prototype is as much about experimentation as it is about results. The project will serve to train some of Honda’s younger engineers. They won’t be alone on the mountain, though, as Honda also recently announced that it would be fielding its new ARX-04b Le Mans prototype at Pikes Peak this year as well.
After several months of occasionally intense competition, Formula E’s first season of all-electric racing is over. Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird has won the second race of the London ePrix, while NEXTEV TCR’s Nelson Piquet managed to do just well enough (seventh place) to win the overall driver’s title by a single point. Not that Piquet’s chief rival, Sebastien Buemi, is about to cry — he secured the team title for E.dams-Renault after winning the first London race on June 27th.
This is a watershed moment for high-profile EV motorsports, although it’s really just the start of something larger. The initial Formula E season required that everyone drive the same car; that’s good for showcasing driver ability, but not so hot for advancing the automotive industry. The gloves will only really come off during season two, when teams can use their own motors and batteries. While it could result in a handful of manufacturers dominating the races (remember Ferrari’s Formula 1 streak?), it should also lead to technological improvements that filter down to electric cars you can buy.