Nissan’s all-electric Leaf raced at Pikes Peak, but left barely a trace.
Words & Images Alison Merion Padron
or 51 weeks of the year, Pikes Peak
Highway is a quiet, meandering
road taking tourists to the
14,110ft summit overlooking Colorado
Springs, Colo. The other week, it’s a
shrine of speed – home to the annual
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Early morning, June 26, 2011, as
the sun peeks over the mountain tops,
the 89th running of the Race to the
Clouds is about to get under way.
Drivers and teams ready their cars in
the pits near the start line, almost
4,720ft below the summit finish.
Underscoring the bustle is the growl
and drone of engines sucking in the
thin air as they’re warmed for action.
Yet one pit is eerily quiet. And even
as the car makes its way from the pit to
the start line, it stays silent, save only
for the back-up alarm chirping away to
alert fans flanking the mountainside
of its impending arrival. This is the
Nissan Leaf – a wholly electric-powered
production car that puts out 107hp and
207lb-ft torque from its lithium-ion
battery-powered, 80k W AC motor,
and does it at less than a whisper.