Toyota Sets Nordschleife Record Running On Batteries

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), Toyota’s Cologne-based high-speed division, has set a new Nordschleife record for an electric vehicle. The TMG EV P001, equipped with two electric motors and 800Nm of torque, did the Nordschleife in 7 mins 47.794 secs, outdistancing the Peugeot EX1 EV’s which did the circuit in 9 mins 1.338 secs.

The Peugeot was as fast as a Volkswagen Lupo GTI. Toyota’s battery-operated racer is breathing down the necks of current Schleifen-champs. According to the fountain of wisdom, the record for a production vehicle stands at 6 minutes 48 seconds for a Radical SR8 LM (production car, sure). In the non road-legal department, the Pagani Zonda leads with 6:47.50. The Radical did the 20,600 m course, the Pagani and the Toyota did the full 20,800 meters. The TMG EV P001 could even be a cousin of the Radical. In its 2010 annual report, TMG said that it had built an electric race car based on the Radical. That one had a top speed of 230 km/h, the TMG EV P001 goes 260 km/h.

Old racer’s adage: It doesn’t matter how fast you go, what matters is how fast you get around the circuit. Acceleration is more important than flat-out top speed on that circuit. Torque is where an EV excels. And with a little tweaking, an electric car can leave the gasoline-powered ones in a cloud of – nothing.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Join the conversation
9 of 20 comments
  • Juniper Juniper on Sep 02, 2011

    rpn Hate to be the one to tell you this, but horsepower doesn't really exist. It is only a calculation. horsepower is force (torque) times speed (rpm) divided by a constant (units). Sorry, but force and speed really exist and can be measured. Horsepower not so much.

    • See 3 previous
    • Pch101 Pch101 on Sep 03, 2011
      @Pch101 How about you? I paid attention in school. (Sometimes, I wonder why I bothered.) Power measures a machine's ability to do work. Horsepower is the term used to describe the power output of engines. Just because horsepower is the product of torque and RPM does not mean that horsepower doesn't exist. Torque and horsepower are interrelated; as noted by Niky below, the torque number in a vacuum doesn't tell us much.
  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Sep 03, 2011

    I don't even know what engr school is. I'm just saying is that a peak torque value by itself doesn't tell you much about how fast a car is. 800 N-m (590 ft-lb) is a huge torque number for the engine of a small race car. So why is the car so (relatively) slow, both in lap time and top speed? We need more information to accompany this torque figure because if it's only available at 0 rpm, it's irrelevant except during a grid start. Nothing against this car or electric cars in general. This one looks like fun, and is much faster than something I would be comfortable piloting around the 'Ring. I'd just like to hear specs that are more useful when it comes electric motors.

    • CRConrad CRConrad on Sep 07, 2011


      I don’t even know what engr school is.Engrish school, obviously. HTH! :-)
  • Niky Niky on Sep 03, 2011

    You'd think an engineering school worth its salt would teach students the difference between 800 Nm of torque at 1000 rpm and 800 Nm of torque at 6000 rpm. The former is a tractor motor, the latter is super-car worthy. Oh, if only there were a way for us to relate how that torque is converted to forward thrust... donkey power?

  • Juniper Juniper on Sep 03, 2011

    Pch I think we really agree. Power is a calculation. To get back to the original comment. Torque at the wheels can be measured or calculated without knowing power. Yes, I too paid attention in school. No need to be disrespectful.