2016 Acura EV Concept

2016 acura ev concept – DOC680166

Rumored ever since the first-generation model was discontinued in 2005, the new Acura NSX made its official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show after many delays. But, the wait was definitely worth it. Designed to modern standards with an aggressive exterior and sporty, yet classy interior, the second-gen NSX received a state-of-the-art drivetrain that combines a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine, three electric motors, and a nine-speed, dual-clutch transmission. Built almost entirely from lightweight materials, the NSX is both a high-profile sports car and a full-fledged track toy for speedy weekends at the track.

In production for only a couple of months as of June 2016, the NSX has already spawned a couple of race cars specifically modified for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. With the 2016 “Race to the Clouds” just around the corner, Acura has announced that it has used the NSX as a basis for an all-electric race car as well. Dubbed EV Concept, it will be campaigned in the Electric Modified Class of the 2016 Pikes Peak. Unlike the other NSX-based racers, the EV Concept uses a different drivetrain and a further evolution of the experimental four-motor Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.

“We’ve been tuning the car for several weeks at Pikes and have advanced its performance significantly,” said Tetsuya Yamano, who will be driving the NSX. “We’re honored to be running at Pikes in this historical, anniversary year – an event respected by racing fans all over the world,” added the driver who campaigned last year’s CR-Z-based electric prototypes.

Exterior

Acura EV Concept

Unlike the two NSXs prepared for the Time Attack class, the EV Concept is a significant departure from the standard model as far as exterior design goes

Unlike the two NSXs prepared for the Time Attack class, the EV Concept is a significant departure from the standard model as far as exterior design goes. Unlike Time Attack, the Electric Modified class does not require strict production specs, so the regulations allowed Acura to go wild here. Naturally, a radical aerodynamic kit was developed. The front section is now highlighted by a massive splitter that extends several inches ahead of the nose, while the main grille was enlarged and its mesh removed for better cooling. Acura did keep the chrome trim between the headlamps to keep some resemblance to the road car. The front hood gained two large vents, while the headlamps received carbon-fiber covers that leave only two LED lights uncovered on each side. The side vents were also revised.

Onto the sides, we can see a revised, larger rear fender intake, new side windows, reshaped side skirts, and lightweight wheels wrapped in Michelin performance tires. Acura also removed the side mirrors, which are not only useless for the event, but also increase drag. The most radical changes are visible around back, where nothing suggests that the race car is based on the NSX. The fascia was basically redesigned with new taillights, big vents, and a race-spec diffuser. The bumper was removed altogether, leaving the meaty rear tires and the drivetrain exposed. Much like any Pikes Peak vehicle competing in the top classes, the EV Concept received a massive rear wing. The standard engine hood glass was replaced by a louvered unit for improved cooling.

Needless to say, the EV Concept looks pretty wild and proves that Acura can take the NSX’s sexy design to the extreme when it wants to.

Interior

Acura didn’t release any pictures of the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the standard cabin was stripped off of any unnecessary components in order to make the car as light as possible. The door panels, the floor mats, most of the dashboard, and the center console were likely ditched, while the standard seats should be replaced with race-spec bucket seats. Being a full-fledged race car, the EV Concept is also fitted with a roll cage strong enough to keep the driver safe in the event something goes wrong and the car takes an unscheduled trip down the mountain.

Drivetrain

Acura EV Concept

Acura says that the EV Concept’s drivetrain produces “three times the total system output” of last year’s electric prototype

Under that sleek body lies an evolution of Acura’s experimental, four-motor, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertrain. What’s special about this technology is that it enables four-wheel independent torque allocation, a first in the industry. The system was updated for 2016 for more precise thrust at each wheel. There’s no specific word on power and torque, but Acura says that the EV Concept’s drivetrain produces “three times the total system output” of last year’s electric prototype. That’s easily in excess of 1,000 horsepower.

Although the concept’s powertrain is experimental, it does share a lot of the SH-AWD system that is found in the NSX, RLX, and MDX models. The new technology utilizes the highly responsive acceleration characteristics and regeneration capability of electric motors to further advance the torque vectoring systems for road cars, which should benefit from “ideal handling characteristics” due to the system coordinating the power steering and vehicle stability assist.

Competitors

Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One

Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One

Unlike the EV Concept, the E-Runner Concept_One isn’t new for Pikes Peak. The electric car co-developed by Pikes Peak ace Nabuhiro “Monster” Tajima and Croatian manufacturer Rimac Automobili will return to the mountain in 2016 with a handful of updates. The E-Runner features a more aggressive exterior design based on prototype race cars and seating for the driver only. Its rear wing is placed closer to the ground, which gives it a bigger advantage aerodynamically. Power comes from four independent electric motors that crank out in excess of 1,500 horsepower and 1,100 pound-feet of torque. These figures make the E-Runner the main favorite at winning the class and maybe even setting a new Pikes Peak record.

Conclusion

Acura EV Concept

Acura has put a great deal of effort in its Pikes Peak cars in recent years, and the SH-AWD powertrain returned impressive results last year. Given that this year’s Electric Modified class has only four competitors, the EV Concept won’t have many competitors to go against, but winning the category won’t be easy. With both Nabuhiro Tajima and Rhys Millen looking to win this year, Acura will have a hard time crossing the finish line in first place. But no matter the result, the EV Concept’s run at Pikes Peak will make a great test for future applications of the SH-AWD system in road-going cars.

LOVE IT

  • NSX-based design
  • Powerful electric drivetrain
  • SH-AWD system that will be used in road cars soon

LEAVE IT

  • Stiff competition

Press Release

Acura will campaign an all-electric, NSX-inspired EV Concept in the Electric Modified Class at the 2016 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The Acura EV Concept features a further evolution of the experimental, all-electric, 4-motor Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) powertrain that won last year’s Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class.

Acura EV Concept

The supercar-inspired Acura EV Concept will be driven by Tetsuya Yamano, who campaigned last year’s CR-Z-based electric prototype. The Acura EV Concept is the ultimate embodiment of the all-wheel-drive Electric SH-AWD powertrain featuring a world’s first technology that enables four-wheel independent torque allocation. The Acura EV Concept’s Electric SH-AWD powertrain produces three times the total system output of last year’s electric prototype and is mated to the NSX body.

“We’ve been tuning the car for several weeks at Pikes and have advanced its performance significantly,” said Tetsuya Yamano. “We’re honored to be running at Pikes in this historical, anniversary year – an event respected by racing fans all over the world.”

4-Motor Development

Honda R&D has been developing “super handling” technology for more than 20 years in the pursuit of ideal vehicle handling. By applying separate Twin Motor Units (TMUs), the brains of Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, on each axle, Acura has achieved independent torque distribution to all four corners – true four-wheel torque vectoring. Based upon the learnings from last year’s race, the team updated the system management of the powertrain for more precise thrust at each wheel.

Acura’s unique Sport Hybrid SH-AWD technology utilizes the highly responsive acceleration characteristics and regeneration capability of electric motors to further advance the torque vectoring systems currently applied to NSX, and available on RLX and the upcoming 2017 MDX. The system enables ideal handling characteristics in various driving situations by coordinating and managing all dynamic systems, including Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD.

Acura EV Concept

With its high-output electric motors and 4-motor torque vectoring, the Concept is well suited to the demands of the 156 complex corners the driver will encounter on the drive up Pikes Peak.

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