Peugeot EX1 concept (2010) sets ‘Ring record

Published: 04 May 2011

Peugeot is not the first brand you’d suspect of testing at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit. But not only has it taken its 2010 EX1 concept sports car to the infamous German circuit, but it’s claimed a lap record.

I’m sick of Nurburgring records. Why should I care about the Peugeot EX1?

Because the EX1 concept car is an electric car. Under that rakish and wildly impractical carbonfibre bodywork sit two electric motors, capable of shifting the 750kg open two-seater to 0-62 in 3.6 seconds.

Where have I seen the Peugeot EX1 before?

The Peugeot EX1 was too cool for the 2010 Paris motor show, and met the public at Peugeot’s Champs Elysee showroom in September 2010. At the 2011 Geneva motor show it made a striking wall-hanging at the Peugeot booth, with its doors and integrated seats opened out like a carbonfibre butterfly.

Tell me more about the Peugeot EX1’s record-breaking exploits 

More than just a motor show flight of fancy, Peugeot has been using the EX1 to claim EV speed records. Peugeot entered the EX1 in FIA category A, group 8, class 2 (essentially EV specials under 1000kg) and proceeded to set a series of distance speed records from 1/8 mile to 1 mile at the Monthelery circuit in France on 22 September 2010.

After starring at Peugeot’s Paris showroom until November 2010, the EX1 then headed for China, where it proceeded to break its FIA 1/8 and 1/4 mile speed records on 22 December 2010.

So who held the Nordschleife record before the EX1 made its run?

That would be the Mini E Race, a lightweight version of the Mini E two-seat EV. DTM racer Thomas Jager punted the Mini E around the Nordschleife in 9min 51.45sec.

The Peugeot EX1 shrugged in a gallic way, muttered something about his sister the Citroen DS3 being hotter than some dumpy english chick’s car and set a 9min 1.338sec lap time – nearly a minute faster than the Mini E Race. Stepane Caillet, driver and tuner-technician from Peugeot’s R & D centre piloted the EX1 on its record-breaking lap.

Is that a fast lap of the Nurburgring, or is the Peugeot EX1 just fast for an EV?

We hesitate to encourage ‘Ring bores, but suffice it to say the EX1 remains over two minutes behind internal-combustion speed demons like the Radical SR8 and Pagani Zonda, which clocked record lap times in the 6min 47sec range. 

Performance road cars aim to break the eight-minute barrier. So an EV sceptic with a Nurburgring tramp stamp on the rump of their Vauxhall Astra VXR will remain unconvinced. Never mind.

What’s the range of the Peugeot EX1?

It’s the inevitable question, isn’t it? One that Tesla is suing a certain motoring comedy trio’s TV show over at the moment. Peugeot says the EX1 has a 30kWh lithium-ion power cell, that should offer a maximum range of 174 miles under normal driving conditions. Take advantage of the full 250kW and 240NM and expect a significantly shorter distance between recharging.

>> Battery-powered irrelevance, fascinating EV prototype, or both? Share your thoughts on the Peugeot EX1 in the comments section below