9-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner and electric vehicle proponent, Monster Tajima, recently took a Tesla Model S out for a test drive. He said he liked the car’s balance and he definitely was not afraid to push it. In addition to racing EV’s at Pikes Peak, Tajima runs his own EV R&D company in Japan.
Bradley Hasemeyer of Translogic got an interview in with Monster Tajima at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb before and after he attacked the mountain in his new E-Runner electric car in an attempt to set the new overall record. Tajima was the defending champion and was hoping to put an EV on top of the podium for the first running of the fully paved course. Unfortunately it was not meant to due to a motor failure on race day after qualifying well all weekend.
The last of the coverage from this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is still trickling in. I came across a couple of videos of the Toyota Motorsports Group EV P002 and Monster Tajima’s E-Runner that presented a nice opportunity to do a side by side comparison. What makes this interesting is that the E-Runner DNF’ed due to technical failure, but was dominating the EV class during practice. Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima beat Fumio Nutahara in the Toyota by almost 13 seconds on the 5.16 mile lower section of the course during qualifying. Tajima had set up the E-Runner with a mixed tarmac and gravel suspension settings on the first day because he was expecting a lot of gravel to be pulled onto the road surface from the side of the road which never happened. Monster switched to a faster pure tarmac setup for the later practice runs on the middle and top sections of the course. Nutahara won the EV class in the TMG EV P002 on race day and was less than 30 seconds off of the overall record set by Rhys Millen in his Formula D car. Monster Tajima DNF’ed with a motor failure, but what if he had been able to finish? Would he have been in contention to defend his overall record? After watching these two videos, I think he could have done it. This is footage of both the Toyota Motorsports Group EV P002 and Monster Tajima’s E-Runner on the top section of the course on the last day of practice before race day. Identical course and conditions make this an excellent comparison of speed. The two cars aren’t worlds apart, but the E-Runner is visibly faster and seems more stable. I think it definitely would have been within the realm of possibility for the E-Runner to pull a 30 second gap on the Toyota over the length of the 12.42 mile course. Hopefully Monster Tajima can get the kinks worked out for the race next year and put an EV on top of the overall podium.
Video 1: Fumio Nutahara in the Toyota Motorsports Group EV P002 practice run on the top section of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2012.
Video 2: Monster Tajima in the E-Runner on the same course on the same day:
Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima was the defending race winner coming into the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb having set the overall record last year while the course was still part tarmac and part gravel. 2012 marks the first year where the entire course has been paved. Monster and Team APEV of Japan built a new car called the E-Runner which is tarmac specific and electric powered. Though Team APEV did the engineering and fabrication on the E-Runner, Monster Tajima promotes the use of electric race cars in Japan with his own EV company called Tajima Natural Energy. Monster qualified first in the EV category by a large margin using a mixed gravel and tarmac suspension setup. Tajima had anticipated that a lot of dirt from the side of the track would be dragged onto the road surface but changed to a tarmac specific setup when he saw the course stayed clean during practice. Many people thought he would set the new overall record in an electric vehicle. Here is video of his qualifying run from Day 1 of practice on the lower section of the course:
About a month ago, current Pikes Peak overall record holder, Monster Tajima, announced he would be competing in this years race in an electric car. I knew Tajima would have to redesign his car (his rally car is one of the header photos for the main page) for this year since Pikes Peak would be 100% paved for the first time, but going full electric caught me off guard. This is the rendering of his new car:
Monster Tajima's Electric Pikes Peak Car
After looking into it a little, I found out that Monster Tajima owns an electric car company in Japan called Tajima Natural Energy. I found a couple of their current products. The first is a Formula EV race car:
They also produce this Mini-Sport single seater:
Tajima Natural Energy's Mini-Sport EV
In addition to cars, the company’s website has sections for electric scooters, wind turbines, solar panels and battery packs. I wish Monster luck in breaking his own record in the new electric car.