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Nissan Leaf Sets Speed Record – in Reverse

And another one going forward.

by on Jul.03, 2012

Stunt driver Terry Grant prepares for his record run in the Nissan Leaf.

Fifty-five miles an hour doesn’t sound like much these days, yet it was enough to land the Nissan Leaf a spot in the record books – the little battery-electric vehicle setting a record for driving in reverse.

But you could say that the maker did well both coming and going — setting a second record in a more conventional driving mode, as well, during the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Professional stunt driver Terry Grant beat his own previous record on Sunday launching backwards up Goodwood Hill averaging a cool 55 mph.

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“There were times I wasn’t sure I was coming or going. However, thanks to the LEAF’s low center of gravity – the batteries are an integral part of the car’s floor – the car is extremely stable, no matter which direction it’s traveling. The only complaint I have is slight neck ache from constantly looking over my shoulder,” said Grant, who recorded an earlier record at Goodwood driving a Nissan Juke up the hill on two wheels last year.


Wildfires Force Delay of Pikes Peak Hill Climb

No new date set as fires spread.

by on Jun.28, 2012

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will have to wait out Colorado's devastating wildfires. (Photo courtesy Drew Phillips/

Dozens of drivers will have to wait before they get to burn rubber racing to the summit of one of the act that continent’s tallest mountains.  Rapidly expanding wildfires have led organizers to indefinitely delay the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

The annual event is a magnet for manufacturers and private teams from around the world, 211 competitors currently scheduled for the 2012 running.  Significantly, the race was supposed to see a growing number of “green” entries this year, including battery-powered racers from Toyota and Mitsubishi.

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But Colorado is being ravaged by wildfires that have been spreading out of control.  One, near Colorado Springs, doubled in size last night and is now covering an estimated 24 square miles after destroying scores of homes overnight.

Officials decided on the postponement after meeting with representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, said PPIHC Chairman Tom Osborne, in a statement.  “At the end of our meeting today, it was clear that we would not be able to go as scheduled.”


Toyota Among Makers Charging Pike’s Peak Climb with Battery Power

Will battery cars stand up to the challenge?

by on Jun.08, 2012

Japanese champion Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima will be back at Pike's Peak but this time driving this Batmobile-like custom battery car.

It’s one of the world’s most challenging motorsports event, a climb to the 14,000-foot summit of Pike’s Peak.  And this year, a number of automaker’s will make the run in a way reflecting the otherwise pristine environment in the Colorado Rockies.

Toyota will be one of a number of manufacturers taking on the annual Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, on July 8th, using electric propulsion.  Also on tap will be at least two versions of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, one stock and one heavily modified.

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But perhaps one of the most threatening products to challenge the Peak next month will be custom-made electric vehicle under development by Japan’s Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima that looks like it had drifted off the set of the next Batman movie.