Former winner and record holder Rhys Millen will participate in the 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with the one megawatt electric race car developed by Drive eO. The 42-year-old driver will challenge all competitors in the “Race to the Clouds,” aiming to become the first overall winner with an electric vehicle.
“In ideal conditions, we must be capable of setting a race time below 9 minutes,” Millen said.
The eO PP03 produces 1020 kW (1367 hp) peak power, thanks to a 50-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and six YASA-400 electric motors with in-house developed eO controllers. The all-electric vehicle is currently being assembled by Drive eO, which is a Latvian engineering company specializing in the design and manufacture of electric and hybrid electric prototype vehicles. The company was the first to complete the demanding Dakar Rally with a hybrid electric vehicle, and has participated with all-electric race cars in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb twice.
With over 20 years of racing experience, Rhys Millen has carved out a solid career and reputation, becoming one of the most sought after performance drivers in the US automotive scene. Millen, born in New Zealand, is the son of famed rally and off-road racer Rod Millen. Rhys joined his father Rod in the United States as a teenager and soon established himself as an entrepreneur and race car driver. He developed his advanced car control skills in various competitions like rally, drift series and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, setting multiple records, class wins and taking the overall victory in 2012. He previously represented factory teams such as Mitsubishi, GM and Hyundai. Besides racing, Millen was also appointed lead stunt driver for film productions like Dukes of Hazzard and multiple Fast and Furious titles.
“We are very proud to announce Rhys as our driver. It was great to see him very excited straight away and his involvement in the project has already benefited us massively. He’s brought his experience of 4WD race car preparation and setup and also insider knowledge of Pikes Peak peculiarities. He is taking the project very seriously and is coming up with useful ideas to beat the competition this year. Overall, it is certainly a great acknowledgement of our past work that Rhys puts his faith in our team to develop a race winning car!” said Drive eO project director, Kristaps Dambis.
“I’m very pleased that Drive eO offers me my first electric race car experience at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. When Kristaps mentioned the new vehicle design it peaked my interest to work with the team. Drive eO brings the future into the present with the most capable vehicle ever to grace Pikes Peak that has the opportunity to win overall. I have full confidence in the team that we will succeed. If the numbers that are on paper equate to real world numbers, this vehicle – in ideal conditions – should be capable of a race time below nine minutes,” Rhys said.
The eO PP03 is currently being assembled at the workshop in Ogresgala Pagasts, near Latvia’s capital city Riga, and is expected to undergo first testing this May.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motor racing event in the US. The race is run on a 20-kilometer course with 156 turns that begins at an elevation of 2,862 meters (9,390 feet) and finishes at the 4,301-meter (14,100 feet) summit of the Pikes Peak mountain in Colorado Springs.
Drive eO provides bespoke electric and hybrid solutions for high performance low carbon vehicles – complete prototype vehicle development, electric drive train integration, high-power electric motor controllers and custom lightweight battery packs. The company has produced several technology demonstrators, including the first electric drive Dakar rally car and a string of electric supercars for the Pikes Peak hill climb.