By Nicki Gordon-Bloomfield
For the past week or so the famous Pikes Peak in Colorado has rung with the sound of cars and motorcycles climbing the 12.42 mile course to its 14,110 foot summit.
But yesterday for a few minutes, the mountain was a little quieter as an electric car climbed the summit, completing the would-renowned hill-climb course in a breathtaking 12 minutes and 20 seconds breaking the course record for an electric car which it set the previous year.Sponsored by tire firm Yokohama, the open-wheel Summit Motorsports race car powered by an AC Propulsion drivetrain showed the world that while General Motor’s ill-fated EV1 may be long dead its offspring are still alive and kicking.
Alan Cocconi, the engineer who first developed the drivetrain which went into the EV1 prototype – known as the GM Impact – also founded AC Propulsion in 1992.
In 1994 Cocconi and his team designed and built the AC-150 integrated drive system. Capable of powering a motor of up to 150 kilowatts in size, the AC-150 made its way into some of the fastest electric cars ever made, including the Wrightspeed X1, the Venturi Fetish, and AC Propulsion’s own converted Scion SB, named the eBox..
Even the world’s favorite electric sportscar, the $109,000 Tesla Roadster owes some of its success to Cocconi and AC Propulsion. Had it not licensed some of AC Propulsion’s technology, the Tesla Roadster would be a completely different vehicle.
Following Tesla’s lead, even automative giant BMW went to AC Propulsion for help, using its drivetrain system in the limited run Mini E test fleet.
And it is a Cocconi designed AC-150 drivetrain system – or rather a race-prepared AC-180 version of it – which powered the record-setting hill-climber.
If electric cars had a royalty, AC Propulsion would be it. Seventeen years after it was first designed, the offspring of the original AC Propulsion drivetrain is still showing the motor racing world that electric cars are fast and furious, without resorting to quirky record-setting gimmickry.
This story, originally written by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, originally posted on AllCarsElectric, an editorial partner of Talking Points Memo.