The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the world's most grueling and challenging motorsport events. It's a 12.42-mile race to the summit of a 14,115-foot mountain in Colorado, with 156 turns and no guardrails to protect the drivers from plunging off the cliffs. The air is thin, the weather is unpredictable, and the competition is fierce.
But this year, there's a new contender that could shake things up: the Ford SuperVan 4.2, an electric van that claims to have more power and torque than a Bugatti Chiron. Yes, you read that right: an electric van that can outperform a hypercar.
The Ford SuperVan 4.2 is not your typical delivery vehicle. It's a modified version of the Ford Transit Custom PHEV, a plug-in hybrid van already popular among European commercial customers. But instead of using a 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine and a 13.6 kWh battery pack, the Ford SuperVan 4.2 has been fitted with four electric motors that produce a combined output of 1,400 horsepower and 1,491 pound-feet of torque.
That's enough to propel the SuperVan 4.2 from zero to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and to reach a top speed of 186 mph. To put that in perspective, the Bugatti Chiron has 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque and can do zero to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 261 mph.
But the SuperVan 4.2 is not just about straight-line speed. It also has a sophisticated all-wheel drive system that can distribute power to each wheel independently, allowing for precise handling and cornering. It also has an adaptive suspension that can adjust the ride height and damping according to the road conditions and driving mode.
The SuperVan 4.2 also looks the part of a racing machine. It has a sleek aerodynamic body kit that reduces drag and improves downforce, as well as a large rear wing and a front splitter that add stability at high speeds. It also has carbon fiber wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires that provide optimal grip and traction.
The interior of the SuperVan 4.2 is equally impressive. It has a minimalist dashboard with a digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen infotainment system that can display various performance data and telemetry. It also has a racing steering wheel with paddle shifters and buttons for controlling different functions. The driver's seat is a Recaro bucket seat with a six-point harness, while the passenger seat is a regular bench seat that can accommodate two people.
The SuperVan 4.2 is not just a one-off project for fun. It's also a serious attempt to showcase electric vehicles' potential and challenge the dominance of internal combustion engines in motorsport.
Ford has been investing heavily in electrification in recent years, launching models like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the F-150 Lightning, and the Ford E-Transit. The company has also announced plans to make all its European passenger vehicles fully electric by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The SuperVan 4.2 is part of Ford's strategy to demonstrate that electric vehicles can be exciting, fun, competitive, environmentally friendly, and efficient.
The Ford SuperVan 4.2 will make its debut at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26th, where it will compete in the Exhibition Class against other unconventional vehicles like motorcycles, sidecars, and trucks.
The driver of the Ford SuperVan 4.2 will be Ken Block, a professional rally driver and stunt performer who is famous for his Gymkhana videos on YouTube. Block is no stranger to Pikes Peak, having raced in various Ford vehicles several times before.
Block said he was thrilled to drive the SuperVan 4.2 at Pikes Peak, calling it "the most insane vehicle I've ever driven."
"I've always loved vans, but I never imagined driving one with this much power and performance," Block said. "The SuperVan 4.2 is a beast, and I can't wait to unleash it on the mountain." Block said he was also impressed by the SuperVan 4.2's electric drivetrain, which he said offered many advantages over traditional engines.
"The SuperVan 4.2 is incredibly responsive and smooth, and it doesn't lose power at high altitudes like gas engines do," Block said. "It also makes a cool futuristic sound that reminds me of a spaceship."
Block said he was confident that the SuperVan 4.2 could set a new record for the fastest van at Pikes Peak and maybe even challenge some of the other classes.
"I'm not here to just cruise around and have fun," Block said. "I'm here to win and to prove that electric vehicles can be as fast and exciting as any other vehicle on the road."
The SuperVan 4.2 is not the first electric vehicle to race at Pikes Peak. In 2018, Volkswagen's ID.R prototype set a new overall record of 7 minutes and 57 seconds, beating the previous record by 16 seconds. But the SuperVan 4.2 is the first electric van to race at Pikes Peak, and it could be a game-changer for the future of motorsport.
The SuperVan 4.2 is not only a testament to Ford's innovation and engineering prowess but also a sign of the times. Electric vehicles are no longer niche products for eco-conscious consumers but mainstream options for anyone who loves driving.
The SuperVan 4.2 is not just a van but a vision of what's possible with electric power.
The Ford SuperVan 4.2 is not just a vehicle but a statement.
The SuperVan 4.2 is not just a dream but a reality.
And it's ready to take on Pikes Peak.
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