Challenge at Tianmen Mountain is also a testing site for production development

ID.R underlines the technical e-competence of Volkswagen

On 02 September, the ID.R will face a very special kind of challenge on Tianmen Mountain in China: record-chaser Romain Dumas (F) will set a benchmark behind the wheel of the ID.R against which the competition will be able to try their luck. So far, no one has dared to master the extremely winding route up the mythical mountain in a racing car.

With the ID.R, the racing ambassador of the future ID. product family, Volkswagen demonstrates its competence in the field of electrically powered vehicles – using motorsport as a test-field and stage. In just one year, Volkswagen set new records with the all-electric ID.R at Pikes Peak (USA), the Nürburgring Nordschleife (D) as well as the Goodwood Festival of Speed (GB). In this interview, Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Passenger Cars, with responsibility for ‘Sales, Marketing and After Sales’, explains why the challenge in China is emblematic of the mobility change at Volkswagen.

Mr. Stackmann, the entire Volkswagen team is highly anticipating the ID.R’s appearance on the mythical Tianmen Mountain. What makes this so fascinating for you?
It is a very special challenge. Unlike the previous record drives, our team hardly knows the track and could not test in the simulator or on-site. I am looking forward to the record attempt, as the mountain has a special, mythical significance in Asia. For Volkswagen, the Chinese market is very important because we want to actively drive the electro-mobility strategy there at full throttle.

What is your aim with the record attempt on Tianmen Mountain?
With the ID.R we want to prove once again that electro-mobility is not only fun, but also extremely efficient and capable of high performance. Electro-mobility is emotive and fascinating: this is the clear message the ID.R is sending. We hope that Tianmen, with our benchmark, will become a place where electric vehicles compete regularly to reach new heights. The situation is similar with the production vehicles of the ID. family: we are convinced that the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) is unparalleled. It not only forms the basis of all future ID. vehicles, but it is also available to other vehicle manufacturers.

What role does the ID.R play in the development of the ID. production vehicles?
The ID.R is our electric racer that awakens emotions and captivates people under the spell of electro-mobility. It also dispels many common prejudices against e-mobility. Incidentally, a few months ago, we published the ‘12 myths of electro-mobility’ on our channels, which debunks these common prejudices. The ID.R is our ambassador for the future ID. production models, such as the ID.31, which will be officially presented at the 2019 IAA. But certainly, the ID.R also has a great importance for the technological transfer to production. For example, since the project began about two years ago, we have learned an incredible amount about e-mobility, software, battery management and charging technology, and we have also been able to use this knowledge for production development.

How do you assess the developments around electro-mobility?
It is not only an interesting and exciting time for me as a sales and marketing director, but for the entire car industry as well. It is great fun developing ideas and strategies with a brilliant team at the cutting edge of e-mobility to convince our customers – and those who will hopefully become them – that electric vehicles are the answer to the challenges of our time. They give great driving pleasure, and they offer advantages and features that we could have only dreamt of a few years ago: they provide more space with comparable external dimensions, they are quiet, very efficient, economical and inexpensive to maintain, and they give our designers completely new opportunities.

Can an electric car with a long range and plenty of space actually be fun to drive?
Without question. You just have to experience the feeling of acceleration in an electric car. Of course, we cannot transfer this like-for-like from the ID.R to the ID. production vehicles, as it generates 500 kW and thus far more than most customers want. But we know already that thanks to electric drive, much less power allows greater acceleration. But it is something you have to feel for yourself, otherwise you won’t believe it.

Volkswagen on Tianmen Mountain – a unique record attempt with the ID.R electric racing car.
The Chinese mountain Tianmen, about 1,300 kilometres as the crow flies from the capital Beijing, is host to one of the most spectacular roads in the world: the Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road in Zhangjiajie Province. With 99 hairpin corners, it climbs about 1,100 metres in elevation difference. On 2 September 2019, Romain Dumas (F) will seek to set a benchmark with the Volkswagen ID.R on the nearly eleven-kilometre route. An official fastest time for racing cars does not exist there yet. The ID.R, the racing ambassador of the future ID. product family, is powered by two electric motors with a system performance of 500 kW (680 PS). The record attempt on the spectacular mountain road to the mythical ‘Heaven’s Gate’ supports Volkswagen’s electric model offensive in China.

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