Mitsubishi's E-Evolution Concept: The Performance EV Nobody Asked For
Mitsubishi gets a lot of mileage out of its defunct nameplates, but it remains steadfast in its unwillingness to provide enthusiasts with the car they’ve been asking for.
You remember the Lancer Evolution. It’s the car you saw Tommi Mäkinen use to win four consecutive WRC driver’s titles in the late 1990s. It’s the car you clocked the most hours in with your favorite automotive-themed video game. Maybe it was even a car you owned and used to embarrass vehicles well outside of its price range.
That rally-ready sedan is dead now. However, Mitsubishi is taking the Evolution name and adhering it to a fantastical new prototype. Called the e-Evolution, the automaker is serving up a recipe similar to the Eclipse Cross: Borrow a name from a retired model and slap it on an ultra-modern crossover. The difference here is that the new Eclipse is a real automobile while the e-Evolution is a self-indulgent exhibition of semi-real technologies.
Unveiling new details about the model prior to its Tokyo debut, Mitsubishi said it had absolutely no plans to build it. Instead, the e-Evolution’s technologies will be gradually adopted by production vehicles sometime after 2020.
Although parsing out what those features might be is a tall order. It has a trio of electric motors driving all four wheels. The “high-torque and high-performance electric motors, supplied by a high-capacity battery system” that the automaker promises will deliver smooth and strong acceleration… in theory.
While only a single mill turns the front wheels, the back receive a electric pair coupled by a torque-vectoring active yaw control system. That ought to make the e-Evolution Prototype a dream in the corners, hypothetically speaking.
However, the vehicle’s parting piece is an A.I. system that augments the driver’s capabilities by constantly assessing the road via an array of sensors, then makes applicable tweaks. It’s also capable of understanding the pilot’s intent, giving them god-like abilities behind the wheel. There is even an active coaching display — both visual and auditory — that will help you become a better driver.
Like I said, fantastical. However, while we don’t believe the stylized shell Mitsubishi is bringing to the Tokyo Motor Show has any of the above technologies, it doesn’t mean they aren’t possible to employ in later production models.
Perhaps Mitsubishi will even see fit to deliver another Lancer Evolution someday and bestow it with some of these high-concept features. After all, the Evo was always adept at translating slick new technologies into an uncanny on-road experience.
If that experience has to come by way of an electric crossover, then so be it. We know the company has to worry about its bottom line.
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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