To prove that electric cars are just as bad-ass as run-of-the-mill, gas-powered, souped-up race cars, Nissan entered the Leaf in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This race is not for weenies: It requires drivers to cover 12.42 miles and navigate 156 turns while ascending 4,720 feet in altitude at an average grade of 7 percent. Nissan made minimal changes to the factory-floor version of the car, putting in racing tires and some safety equipment but nothing too fancy.
And the Leaf won! Its division. In which it was the only car competing. But still! The fastest car at the event set a record at 9 minutes and 51 seconds. The Leaf wasn’t record-breaking fast, but it did the drive in under 15 minutes, so we now know it's possible to do that kind of insane drive in a respectable time, even in a normal electric car. (It helps to be a champion off-road truck racer like Leaf driver Chad Horn.) Plus, at altitudes as high as the top of Pikes Peak, gas-powered engines lose a portion of their power. Electric engines — not so much!