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gscherer78ta's 1978 Trans Am

2019 February
of the Month

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Car and Driver: All-Electric Acura 4-Motor NSX EV Concept to Tackle Pikes Peak

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Acura-NSX-EV-Concept-crop

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As if its “Quiet Mode” didn’t make the 2017 Acura NSX stealthy enough, Honda has decided to rip out its twin-turbo V-6 for a second pair of electric motors and a larger battery to race up Pikes Peak.

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The NSX EV Concept does not presage a production model being developed for sale. It will be challenge enough to move a couple hundred of the gas-electric Acura supercars each year when snorty rivals like the Aston Martin Vantage and Porsche 911 Turbo retail for similar prices. Instead, armed with a squirrel-scooping front splitter and vicious dive planes, this lightweight NSX was devised specifically to tackle the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26. Japanese Super GT champ Tetsuya Yamano will take the wheel in the Electric Modified class. Going all-electric for Pikes Peak is a neat inversion of Acura’s GT3 road-racing program, which ditches the hybrid elements of battery-pack and electric motor to go with traditional internal combustion alone.

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Honda won’t say anything about the NSX EV powertrain except that it has four electric motors, a setup used on the CR-Z EV race car the company fielded for Yamano to drive at last year’s event. The company says that this NSX EV generates three times more power than did the CRZ—which, based on a detuned version that Honda let journalists drive last year, we can only assume means something north of 600 horsepower. There are no hub motors in play here, just a heavy-duty version of the electrified torque-vectoring axle found in the current NSX and several grades above those in the RLX Sport Hybrid and the upcoming MDX Sport Hybrid. Currently, Acura employs torque vectoring only on one axle—on the rear in the RLX and MDX, and on the front in the NSX—but it’s clearly curious about doubling down. As are we.

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The EV Concept won’t be the only NSX making the 12.4-mile climb into the clouds. Two brothers who work in the Honda engineering department—James and Nick Robinson—will race a pair of lightly modified NSX production cars in the hill climb’s two Time Attack classes (photo below). Last year, Acura brought a pre-production NSX that paced the race, but didn’t compete.

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Acura NSX Time Attack 1 and 2 Vehicles

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Electric prototype racers (a separate class from the modified-production group the NSX will compete in) posted the three fastest times in the 2015 running, with Rhys Millen winning in a Latvian-built Drive e0 PP03 rated at over 1350 horsepower. His 9:07.222 run was the fastest-ever for an electric, but the all-time record still belongs to a turbocharged Peugeot 208 T16 driven by Sebastien Loeb, who ran 8:13.878 at the 2013 event.

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