Porsche sets Guinness World Record driving an EV from U.P. mine to Pike's Peak
In a little over a day in September, a team from Porsche AG drove a Taycan Cross Turismo electric vehicle from the lowest point in America they could access by car — Eagle Mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula — to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado.
The journey covered a vertical distance of more than 3 miles, setting the Guinness World Record for the greatest altitude change achieved by an EV. The team traveled more than 1,400 miles between the two points, stopping only for the drivers and the car to charge.
Eagle Mine, in Upper Peninsula wilderness outside of Marquette, has a steady decline plunging more than 3,000 feet below the earth's surface. It's the only currently-operating nickel mine in the United States and provides critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries, which the auto industry is pouring money into developing.
"It was fitting to have the Porsche Taycan drive to the bottom of our nickel and copper mine, as both elements are essential to electric vehicles," Darby Stacey, managing director for the mine, said in a statement. "After numerous risk assessments, safety discussions, and detailed planning, our mine team was up to the challenge."
The drivers left Michigan through the western U.P. and crossed six states in the EV until they reached Colorado, where they were nearly blocked from ascending the mountain by an impending snow storm. They raced to the peak and completed the journey in just under 34 hours.
"You can plan for months, develop a highly detailed schedule, but at the end of the day it always comes down to execution and weather,” said J.F. Musial, a television and film producer who works on auto-related films and who was part of the team attempting the drive. “I couldn’t have been prouder of our team’s efforts."
Porsche USA contacted the Eagle Mine last summer about partnering with them on the record attempt, said Eagle Mine external relations manager Matt Johnson. The mine's management decided to explore what it would take to bring an EV underground, compared with the heavy-duty trucks that traditionally travel the gravel-paved descent.
The Taycan Cross Turismo had the capability to raise the car from the driver's seat to provide more clearance under the vehicle in the case of an obstacle. That had been a major concern for the mine, Johnson said, that the tires or the underbody of the car would be damaged by the sharp rocks lining the path.
"That, frankly, was our biggest risk," Johnson said.
It took several months of planning before the team was ready to begin the attempt, he said. As they drove across the country, the driving team called to give updates. Finding charging stations was challenging, he said, and they were nearly derailed by the threat of snow on Pike's Peak.
"All the work we did, the months and months of planning, the successful venture out of the mine only to be stopped by a snow storm at Pike's Peak?" he said. "If that would happened, no one would have heard of this event."