Honda will yet again tackle the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with an electric prototype, adapting its class-winning EV four-motor prototype to an Acura NSX body. The NSX-inspired EV concept will attempt to defend Honda's position atop the Exhibition class, and given that Honda says it produces three times the total power of last year's entry, its prospects are looking mighty sweet.
Compared to the production Acura NSX, the EV concept sports giant spoilers on the front and rear for improved aerodynamics, a stripped-out rear end with improved cooling for the Twin Motor Unit out back, and racing slicks shod on large multi-spoke black wheels.
Like last year's Honda CR-Z EV prototype, the Acura NSX EV concept will use a special application of the electric all-wheel-drive system (SH-AWD for Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) that's used in the street version of the modern NSX supercar. While the standard car uses a three-motor electric system, the Pikes Peak version of the Acura NSX boasts a four-motor system that allows for four-wheel independent torque distribution.
"We've been tuning the car for several weeks at Pikes and have advanced its performance significantly," said driver Tetsuya Yamano, who also piloted last year's CR-Z prototype. "We're honored to be running at Pikes in this historical, anniversary year an event respected by racing fans all over the world."
For the 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Acura NSX EV team not only increaed output but also tuned the powertrain for "more precise thrust at each wheel."
The benefits of Acura's handling system and instantaneous electric torque are very well-suited to Pikes Peak for a few reasons. For one, immediate torque is essential for quickly building momentum coming out of some of the more challenging twists of the mountain's harrowing 156 turns. Things only get tougher as cars climb the mountain to its 14,114-foot summit, where traditional combustion engines struggle with thin air—something EVs don't have to worry about.
The Acura NSX EV concept will compete at this year's Hill Climb alongside two production NSX supercars competing in the Time Attack 1 and 2 classes. Acura's TA1 NSX sports a lighter weigh-in and a high-flow racing exhaust, while TA2 is essentially stock aside from safety equipment.