VW Unveils ANSYS-designed Electric Sports Car
Phillip Keane posted on June 22, 2018 |

Hillclimbing is one of the oldest forms of motorsport in the world, with the first recorded hillclimb event occurring near Nice, France, in 1897.

A hillclimb, as you would expect from the name, is an event where cars race along a continuously uphill track to the finish line.

VW Motorsport is bringing hillclimbing into the 21st century with an electric sportscar, dubbed the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak (named after the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event that it will compete in). The 1100 kg sportscar features a twin-engine powertrain and is capable of outputting 500kW (680hp).

The car that will serve as a tech demo for future VW platforms. (Image courtesy of VW Motorsport.)
The car that will serve as a tech demo for future VW platforms. (Image courtesy of VW Motorsport.)

Due to the varying altitude of hillclimb events, and the accompanying variations in density, temperature and drag, normal wind tunnels can’t be used to gauge the aerodynamics as they would in the case of a flat and level track. This is where ANSYS simulation came into play.

The 19.99-km-long Pikes Peak track begins at 2,862 meters above sea level and finishes at an altitude of 4,302 meters at the finish line. In order for VW Motorsports to gain the optimal aerodynamic advantage on this grueling track, engineers turned to ANSYS for help.

VW engineers used ANSYS solutions to simulate driving conditions over the course of the track, allowing Volkswagen engineers to determine the ideal balance of cooling airflow and aerodynamic loss, thus establishing the best battery cooling strategy for the vehicle’s optimal performance.

"Perfect energy management is a critical factor for beating the record in the electric car category at Pikes Peak," said François-Xavier Demaison, technical director at Volkswagen Motorsport and I.D. R Pikes Peak project manager. "The first test drive at Pikes Peak was successful and demonstrated the accuracy of our simulations. Our team is confident in the vehicle's performance and eager to set a new record in the category."

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak recently completed its qualifying round at Pikes Peak in Colorado, with Le Mans winner Romain Dumas at the wheel. Not only did Dumas qualify, but he gained the fasted qualifying time in the stage, meaning that he will start the actual race first on Sunday, June 24.

The VW electric car came a full 11.049 seconds ahead of the second fastest car (which had a more traditional internal combustion engine).

VW hopes to snatch the current record for electric vehicles at the event, which currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes. And by the looks of things, it’s got a good chance of smashing it.

You can follow updates from the event over at the VW Motorsport blog.

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