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Ford’s bonkers 1,400-hp electric SuperVan to race Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, already breaks records during qualifying

Ford’s bonkers 1,400-hp electric SuperVan to race Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, already breaks records during qualifying

Ford has reworked the SuperVan all-electric performance van to break records in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. (Image source: Ford)

Ford has unveiled the custom 1,400 hp E-Transit SuperVan it plans to use during the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 25, 2023. This Hot Wheels van come to life sees a number of improvements over last year’s competitor and is a far cry from the E-Transit van that it was based on. Ford worked with STARD (Stohl Advanced Racing and Development Motorsport) to realise the SuperVan 4.2.

Just a few days ahead of the race, Ford has unveiled its SuperVan 4.2, developed in conjunction with STARD, that it plans to send up the Pikes Peak Hill Climb on June 25. While the SuperVan 4.2 is an iteration of the SuperVan 4 that Ford raced up the mountain previously, Ford and STARD have made significant alterations to the design to eke out even more performance from the behemoth, despite a decrease in raw horsepower. Aside from winning races, Ford uses the SuperVan as a research project to push the boundaries and demonstrate what’s possible in an electric drive train.

Ford has cut 600 hp of the SuperVan 4’s 2,000-hp for a total of 1,400 hp in the SuperVan 4.2 by shedding an entire motor. The new SuperVan will be powered by three electric motors — one on the front axle and two on the rear — while battery duties are handled by a set of Li-Polymer NMC pouch cells with 600-kW regeneration braking capability. For reference, Tesla’s regeneration braking reportedly operates at around 60 kW, while the Porsche Taycan delivers an industry-leading 290 kW.

For the 2023 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Ford paid special attention to aerodynamics to maximise the efficiency of the SuperVan. Just like previous versions, the rear of the cabin has been cut out and replaced with a tear-drop shaped panel to reduce resistance and turbulence, while the spoilers and splitters provide a claimed 4,400 lbs (~1995 kg) of downforce at 150 mph (~241 kph).

The aerodynamics improvements on top of a reworked chassis and significant weight reductions from a wealth of carbon fibre hint at a vehicle with controlled, agile handling. To see how it actually plays out, you can catch the Pikes Peak race on June 25 on the Mobil1 YouTube channel, but so far, Romain Dumas already has the lead in the Open division qualifying results, having set a record-breaking time.

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