We love owning an electric vehicle (EV.) Despite its limited range and the looks we get from surprised pedestrians who don’t hear it coming, it’s one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. It saves us money, it takes some of the load off of the environment, and it sort of feels like you’re driving in the future- you don’t pass many other cars on the road that make no noise, put out no emissions, and have a plug.
But one area where our car falls short – way short, if we’re being honest – is going uphill. Whatever your dashboard says you have for range goes right out the window the moment you hit an incline. You could probably get better mileage pushing our EV past 100 mph on the highway than you would summiting a small hill.
Which is just another reason why what Acura accomplished at Pike’s Peak last month really knocks our socks off. Sure, Acura’s new NSX won the production-vehicle race up the nearly 13-mile course just a year after it served as a pace car, but our attention was captured by the NSX EV concept, the all-electric, 4-motor version of the 2017 NSX that Tetsuya Yamano piloted to glory.
The electric NSX finished second in the EV competition, and posted the third-fastest time of any car that ran at the 100th annual Colorado hill climb. One reason why EVs did so well at Pike’s Peak surprised us, but makes a lot of sense: internal combustion engines need air to work, so when air becomes thinner at higher altitude, so too does the amount of power you can eke out of your engine.
But EVs don’t care. They don’t need to work their way up to the ideal RPM level, they don’t need to be used at sea level for peak performance – the torque and power an electric motor has is just there, waiting for you to unleash it.
Acura’s performance at Pike’s Peak might not mean a lot for EV lovers right now, but if Acura keeps working on its electric motors, we may be driving a very different kind of vehicle when our lease is up: one that doesn’t fear hills like some people fear heights.