An Electromobile Race Over the Alps

The e-miglia got underway on August 13 in Munich, traveling over Mt. Grossglockner to Bozen through the Engadin valley and onto St. Moritz. This year, two teams from energiebau, the photovoltaics wholesaler based in Cologne, were once again among the 20 cars in the driver field. In addition to the two-time e-miglia winner Tim Ruhoff and his co-pilot this year Anna Baumeister, a newcomer team consisting of co-pilot Sabine Kress (Öko-Haus) and pilot Christian Minor (NaturEnergieLaden) started in a second Tesla vehicle. This time, the teams faced stronger international competition – among others, Alessandro De Guglielmo from Switzerland who entered the race in the Lampo3 futuristic E-sports car.

(Blog contribution in collaboration with Daniel Müller, energiebau)


“In electric car racing, the focus is placed on driving without any CO2 emissions and the beauty of the race course. But it is also a sporting event. […]” explained energiebau General Manager René Médawar, winking his eye at the finish. Actually, the field of drivers must complete a number of tests; for example, handling tests in which drivers must drive a course in precisely the specified time or tests through a challenging obstacle course.


The energiebau-Team 2 at the edge of the Großglockner

Stage 1: From Rosenheim over Salzburg to Bruck

Twenty teams took off towards Salzburg on the morning of August 13, 2012. Drivers had exactly 1.5 hours to reach the destination. The Minor and Kress team reached Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, approximately ten minutes too late. That earned them a 100-minute penalty. “We focused way too much on energy efficiency and drove too slow,” said energiebau’s team 2. “But we learned something from it. The penalties for reaching the destination too early or too late are far more severe than the energy consumption rating.” The Ruhoff team also found it challenging and reached the checkpoint two minutes too late.


Solid Driving Performance on Mt. Grossglockner

At precisely 3 p.m., the drivers continued on towards Bruck where the next special test started at 8 p.m. The energiebau teams had to drive 4.2 kilometers in 3:30 minutes at 72 km/h along the edge of Mt. Grossglockner – Austria’s highest mountain. This time around, team 2 delivered a very strong performance. “The special test was a doozie,” explained Sabine Kress who only had eyes for the stopwatch during the last 30 seconds.  “We were too slow during the second section. Afterwards, we really had to put the pedal to the metal and raced past the motion detector at 80 km/h.” The next day was stage 2 and time for the efficiency rating portion. One thing was certain up front: it was supposed to be the hardest part of the entire course.


The Hairpin Bend 7 Großglockner-high alpine road

Stage 2: The Queen Stage from Bruck to Bozen

As both teams glanced over the mountain’s silhouette, they were certain that they had reached e-miglia’s queen stage. That also meant that the difficult test up Mt. Grossglockner was next. The field of drivers had to climb the 13-kilometer-long Grossglockner High Alpine Road in 14 minutes. Together co-pilots Baumeister and Kress calculated an average speed of 54 km/h. “This is a piece of work,” explained the professional Tim Ruhoff just before the start. “There are a solid 20 hairpin turns ahead of us.” And then, they were off.


Service Team Comes to a Standstill

energiebau’s team 2 visibly enjoyed the pending challenge: “Wow! What an amazing winding road that we have to drive fast to keep within the time limit,” delighted Christian Minor during the short stop at the Edelweissspitze checkpoint at a spectacular altitude of 2,571 meters. Then it was all downhill from there allowing the e-cars to recover some energy (keyword: recuperation (energy recovery)).   The fresh mountain air was suddenly filled with the unpleasant smell of overheated brakes. The energiebau service car, along with its passengers Buchgeister and Maldonado, were forced to take a break and watch as both of the teams pulled ahead towards Italy.


Excitement on the Way to Bozen

Following a short lunch break during which the drivers primarily replenished their fluids they continued on toward the Bozen stage finish. In the end, it was enough to get team 1 and 2 through to the finish. “That was not a stroll through the park,”explained the exhausted but satisfied co-pilot Sabine Kress. “We are really looking forward to finding out our overall ranking.”  


Stage 3: From Bozen into the High Mountains towards St. Moritz

On the third day another special test awaited them, in Bozen.    In the heart of the fruit-growing country of South Tyrol with an altitude of 200 meters, they had to drive down a 7.3-kilometer long winding road surrounded by apple tree orchards in 11 minutes at at only 39.8 km/h.   With the streets blocked off to allow the drivers to speed down the road, the drivers headed toward their first destination at 1,600 meters. Sabine Kress had just one regret: “Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to pick any apple,” she said jokingly.


Both teams are cooling down

Team 2 Gets Cold Feet

The teams dangled their feet in a nearby creek during their break to recharge, grab a bite for lunch and cool down from the hot temperatures. After the refreshing break, they trekked on to the third stage finish in St. Moritz. According to the navigation system, they needed 1 hour and 49 minutes to complete the route. “You cannot save a lot of energy during this handling test, especially since there are quite a few steep ascents,” commented the seasoned veteran Tim Ruhoff from energiebau team 1, referring to the high Engadin mountains up ahead. Believe it or not, it was an uphill stretch covering 151 kilometers with an altitude difference of 3,583 meters.


Show-Stopping Entrance into the Posh Ski Resort

After the teams made their head-turning entrance into the St. Moritz pedestrian zone – where a number of onlookers and fans gathered – the race officials announced the overall interim ranking. At this point, team 1 was in 4th place and team 2 was in 8th. The orange Tesla team from LG Solar had taken the lead. At the end of the day, the spectators and tourists got the chance to see the climate-neutral cruisers up close and personal and ask the drivers questions. The tour would be decided the following day with a trip in the Engadin – a high valley in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.


The Comer Lake at the Maloja-Pass

Stage 4: The Final Stretch around St. Moritz

At the start of the last day, there were still a lot of unanswered questions: Could the drivers of energiebau 1 challenge the leading team from LG Solar? Could energiebau’s team 2 surpass teams ahead of them during the last stage with three challenging alpine passes to tackle and a sky growing increasingly cloudy and dark? “Fortunately the roads stayed dry on the Albula pass so we could cruise down the 8.4-kilometer-stretch,” explained the now experienced driver, Christian Minor. It stayed dry during the first of three passes, but afterwards at Julier pass (situated at an altitude of 2,200 meters) the drivers had to contend with pouring rain.


St. Moritz Awaits the Winner

The weather slightly improved during the late afternoon allowing the drivers to complete the third and last test on the Maloja pass – whose south side rapidly plummets towards Italy – without any major problems or difficulties. It was obvious who the overall winner was as the first cars drove into St. Moritz: Hans Haslreiter and Wolfgang Schöner from LG Solar took first place of the e-miglia 2012.


Finish in St. Moritz

The e-miglia Was not the Only Impressive Aspect

“After the EEQ in Cologne, Christian Minor and Sabine Kress delivered a very impressive performance and claimed 7th place and, of course we were also pleased with Tim Ruhoff’s 4th place finish,” said the visibly satisfied energiebau General Manager René Médawar at the finish. “After the qualifying round in May, actually driving an E-rally was fantastic. Our ranking is super. I might just drive the e-miglia next year with my own E-car,” said Christian Minor. Co-pilot Sabine Kress then added: “It was a great experience to silently cruise through this beautiful alpine landscape with the Tesla.” And then they both disappeared into the celebrating crowd. A great and ground-breaking event found a suitable end.


energiebau and SMA congratulate all drivers, the winners and organizers for a wonderful e-miglia 2012. We are already looking forward to 2013.


SMA supports e-mobility as the main sponsor and thus the associated ambitions of energiebau at the e-miglia 2012.


Further information on the e-miglia 2012:


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