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Volkswagen ID.R Heaven's Gate record video released

Volkswagen touts its record-setting Heaven’s Gate run with a slick video.
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There’s been a lot of talk lately about slow television, where a camera is placed on a boat or cross-country train and the result is a peaceful, relaxing movie. Volkswagen has released a clip that’s anything but.

Full of action movie jump cuts and a suspenseful score, the video shows Romain Dumas setting a new record time up Tianmen Mountain Big Gate Road in China with the electric Volkswagen ID.R race car.

It's a road destined for dramatic videos like this. Almost all of its 99 curves are tight hairpins, with only concrete blocks stopping you from plummeting off this 1519-metre-tall mountain.

On the tightest of these hairpins, Dumas had to slow down to just 25km/h. On the straightaways, however, the ID.R slingshotted up the road at speeds of up to 230km/h.

Reaching such speeds in the ID.R proved effortless. Powered by two electric motors, located at each axle, the ID.R has a combined output of 500kW. With a total weight of only 1100kg, the prototype can reach 100km/h in just 2.25 seconds.

It's a slippery thing, too. There are fewer air intakes compared to a conventional, ICE-powered racing car as its electric motors require very little cooling. This in turn aids the ID.R's aerodynamics.

If only the video showed the full length of the ID.R’s run, like some instalments of slow television. All 7:38.585 minutes of breathtaking scenery and the high-pitched, frenetic sound of the ID.R’s electric powertrain would be worth watching.

Though the ID.R is a long way removed from the ID vehicles Volkswagen will be introducing to China, the run should help the German juggernaut get some buzz for its electric vehicles.

Until recently, the EV market was growing rapidly in China as the Chinese government offered automakers subsidies. These subsidies have recently been scaled back and EV sales have dropped somewhat, even for market leader BYD.

The Chinese car market overall is also in the midst of a slump, sales down year-over-year almost every month in 2019.

As the number one brand in China, Volkswagen is better-placed than most to pick up EV market share. The buzz generated by this impressive ID.R record won’t hurt.