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Pikes Peak climb champ Monster Tajima going electric for 2012 race


Pikes Peak climb champ Monster Tajima going electric for 2012 raceLast year, hill climber Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima became the first man to conquer Pikes Peak in under 10 minutes, driving a race-prepped Suzuki that was bleeding coolant and steering fluid by the time it crossed the finish line. This year, the 61-year-old plans to beat his record in this -- a custom-built electric car. If he succeeds, it will be the most impressive accomplishment by an electric racer in history.

Tajima does have some benefits to running electric over the 12.4-mile course, even if he won't be able to match the 847-hp output of his 2011 ride. Most gas-powered cars have to use massive turbochargers to suck enough air at altitudes topping 9,000 ft., and many overheat; neither should be an issue in an EV. Last year, Chad Hord put a Nissan Leaf on the route and finished in 14 minutes, 33 seconds, a record Tajima should smash without issue. The fastest custom-built EV run last year finished in 12:20 -- and had to run part of the course on gravel, which has since been paved over.

Look for him on the mountain in July.