“Norma has huge experience of Pikes Peak and hill-climbing, so it was the best choice for the first year, because we have no reference there,” says Demaison.
VW also used the Norma design for the basic aerodynamics, which were then developed with the help of engineers from sister firm Porsche, using its recent Le Mans experience. The car sits on ZF Sachs double wishbone suspension, with passive dampers.
The lack of oxygen at high altitude makes the aerodynamics less efficient, hence why Pikes Peak machines generally sport massive wings. The rear wing of this ID R, for example, is 2.4 metres wide — this isn’t without its problems. “It doesn’t fit in the transporter,” laughs Demaison. “We have to remove it and put it in sideways.”
The ID R’s battery technology
While impressive, the aero isn’t the really interesting bit of this car. “The aero is known science,” says Demaison. “The challenge is the electric powertrain and battery package — and the most difficult bit is to keep it light.”
The EV powertrain is all VW and is something of a test bed to develop the technology for the forthcoming range of ID road cars.
As with some versions of those cars being developed, the ID R has an electric motor driving each axle to give permanent four-wheel drive, with batteries located under the floor to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible.
The two motors combine to offer 671bhp with 470lb ft of torque. With the ID R weighing less than 1100kg, VW claims the machine can do 0-62mph in 2.25sec, with a top speed of 149mph.
While those stats are impressive, the headline figures are dwarfed by the power levels of some previous EV machines to run on the hill; Millen’s record holder, for example, had peak power of 1596bhp.
But VW bosses reckon power output isn’t everything. “It’s a compromise between weight and power,” says Smeets. “We may have gone a bit different from others.”
VW is still finalising the exact number of batteries that will be fitted to the car, with the need to balance the energy they carry with keeping the weight as low as possible.
“The batteries in the ID R are more advanced [than the ID road car batteries] because the demands on them are higher, but we’re working closely with engineers from Braunschweig [VW’s EV battery plant] on their development,” Smeets explains.
“The role of weight and performance is very different for the ID R than an electric road car. We don’t need enough power to do 300 miles, just 12.42. But the compromise is similar in balancing weight and power.