A bevy of electric car owners took to California's famous Laguna Seca this past Sunday to wring out their rides at the 3rd annual ReFuel EV race.
The yearly event is to allow engineers, designers and every-day owners of electric vehicles to test their vehicles' mettle on one of the most famous racetracks in America. For engineers and designers it's a chance to see what works and what doesn't under harsh track conditions. For your average electric car owner, it's all about fun.
The vehicles included production cars such as the Mini E, Tesla Roadster and Nissan Leaf, motorcycles from Mission Motors and Zero Motorcycles and conversion. Predictably, the Lotus-built Tesla took top spot for lap times with a best time of 1:50.8.
But the "family" cars did surprisingly well. Compared to the Tesla's slowest lap of 2:08.007, the Mini E had a fastest time of 2:08.779, followed by the Leaf at 2:10.223. The driver of that Leaf, Nader Assemi, wrote in a post to MyNissanLeaf Forums that while the other cars were faster, they were not without issues. He describes the others as having heat issues after as little as 2 laps, with the Tesla tripping it's automatic power cut after 4 or 5 laps. He wrote that while his Nissan was not exactly track-ready with it's civlilan suspension and tires, it had none of the heat issues plaguing the other entries.
The race is sponsored by Speed Ventures, an organizer of track events for street cars and their owners. On their website they note they are busy planning the 2012 race.