A Closer Look At The Record-Breaker- VW’s all-electric, amazing ‘supercar’
The Volkswagen ID.R is a truly incredible machine that has been busy breaking records and changing the way we think about electric cars and what they’re capable of. Not only is it incredibly powerful and insanely fast but this special supercar has a special story behind it as well.
The VW ID.R is more than just a green campaign to show the world that electric cars are to be taken seriously – it’s a distraction. Back in 2015, VW suffered a rather famous scandal called ‘dieselgate’ where the company was exposed for using trickery to make their cars seem like the produce less emissions than they actually do.
This scandal was huge for VW. Not only did it severely harm the company’s reputation and trustworthiness but it also resulted in huge financial losses in the form of heavy fines and a dramatic dip in share prices. The total cost of the scandal reached €30 billion in mid 2019. Shortly after VW’s dirty little secret was exposed the German automaker had to cut costs and one way they achieved this was by pulling their Motorsport teams from WRC, Formula 3, and the Audi team from WEC.
Although it’s sad that VW stopped funding three teams in three different Motorsports, there is a silver lining to this and it’s called the ID.R. In summary, the ID.R was made to break records and push electric car engineering to the limits. Not only does it provide VW with a platform to experiment on new bleeding-edge EV technologies but it also serves as a marketing machine that helps us all forget about the emissions scandal of the decade.
Being 100% electric, the ID.R helps us believe that VW cares about creating more renewable modes of transport but it’s not all about looking green, it’s also about being the best. So far, VW’s electric hypercar has broken four world records, three of which were previously held by performance cars with internal combustion engines.
On June 24, 2018 the VW ID.R made its debut at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill climb in Colorado. It’s a 12.4-mile hill climb with over 156 turns with a finish line that’s over 14,000 ft above sea level. The VW team aimed to beat the current record for an electric car which was 8:57 minutes but in the end, the amazing VW ID.R beat all standing records and was the first car ever to achieve a sub-8-minute time of 7:57!
The ID.R beat the electric car record by a minute and it beat the fastest lap time for any class by over 15 seconds, a time which was achieved by a Peugeot 208 T16 driven by Sébastien Loeb. Due to the high altitude of the course, cars that rely on combustion to power their engines often struggle due to the thinner air which is part of the reason why the ID.R absolutely smashed it.
Volkswagen’s ID.R is an engineering marvel and world-leading in terms of electric car performance. It’s all-wheel-drive with two electric motors at each axle. These powerful motors produce a 680 hp and 479 lb ft of torque. These figures are impressive, yes, but there are certainly cars out there with more power and more torque. The McLaren Senna, Koenigsegg Agera RS and Ferrari 812 Superfast all have a lot more horsepower but it’s not all about sheer power alone.
With it’s powerful motors and state-of-the-art batteries, the ID.R is able to propel itself at an insane rate of acceleration. Electric cars have instant torque and instant power. There’s no engine that needs to wind up and no turbo that needs to suck up air. This instant power allows the ID.R to reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 2.25 seconds. This is the true strength of VW’s electric, unregulated race car – acceleration that’s quicker than a Formula 1 car.
Although exact details are hard to find about the VW ID.R, we do know some things. We know that the car has a fair bit of range and that VW said themselves that a full attack on Pikes Peak should only use up around 20% of the battery charge. This means we can assume that it could complete Pikes Peak around 5 times without requiring another charge. Although that only makes around 62 miles, it’s still mighty impressive that it can go all out for that distance.
The car, although not belonging to any class of Motorsport, closely mimics LMP1 and LMP2 cars. Technically the car is made to fit two people in but in the ID.R’s case, the space of the passenger seat is taken up with some of the car’s battery which helps optimise weight distribution and balance.
For an electric car, the ID.R is incredibly light, weighing in at around 1,100 kg. LMP1 and LMP2 cars have a minimum weight of 833 kg and 930 kg respectively. To offset the heaviness of the ID.R’s batteries, VW take weight saving measures to the extreme. One example of this is printing race sponsors onto the race suit directly rather than stitching them on as patches.
Aerodynamics are also an important component of making the ID.R as crazy as it is. The downforce produced by the highly tuned aero fins, wings and vents is greater than the car’s weight meaning that theoretically, the car could drive upside down without falling.
After Pikes Peak, this electric ground rocket broke three more records at Nurburgring, Goodwood and then Heaven’s Gate driven by Romain Dumas each time.
At the legendary Nurburgring in June 2019, the ID.R completed a lap in just 6:05.336 setting a new record for all electric cars and placing the second fastest time ever.
In the month after, the powerful EV completed a record-breaking run up the famous Goodwood hill with a time of just 39.9 seconds, beating the previous record holder by 1.7 seconds. VW previously ran the ID.R up the Goodwood hill in 2018 and the car almost lost control by skipping onto the dirt. One year later they came back with improved aerodynamics and tuning and absolutely smashed it.
Most recently, the ID.R completed the Heaven’s Gate run in China in just 7:38.585, beating the previous record set in a Range Rover Sport SVR of 9:51 minutes, which astonishingly beat the previous record set in a Ferrari 458 Italia. The course takes place in the steep hills of the Tianmen Mountain and features 99 turns and a 3,600 ft ascent.
Four incredible records all beaten by VW’s winged EV. The more records it breaks, the more people talk about VW being the pioneers of EV technology and if any car manufacturer needs a reputation boost right now, it’s them.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like our article on the new, all-electric Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
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