Mitsubishi Needs to Give the E-Evolution Concept a Rest

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mitsubishi needs to give the e evolution concept a rest

There’s a lot of wiggle room in what constitutes a concept vehicle. While they frequently foreshadow production models, there’s nothing stopping a company from gluing together some balsa wood, throwing a lawn chair on top, and telling the press it’s scheduled for production next year. It doesn’t have to be a working car, it doesn’t have to accurately represent real-world technologies, and it doesn’t need to be taken all that seriously by the media when that’s the case.

In fact, this author doesn’t even find it particularly useful to reallocate meaningful childhood memories to free up the room needed to recall some minor detail of a fantastical vehicle that will never be manufactured. Which is why I wasn’t totally surprised when Associate Editor extraordinaire Steph Willems reminded me that Mitsubishi’s e-Evolution Concept debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show last year.

But here we are again, this time in LA, and the brand is literally pulling the sheet off it again while everyone pretends it’s new.

The e-Evolution appears to be in the midst of a world tour that would have put Led Zeppelin to shame. This would be fine if it was just there hanging out amongst the other vehicles. But no. The model is being treated as if we’ve never seen or heard about it before — a situation that is as confusing to me as it is infuriating. But I’m not alone in this. Whilst reminding me that the e-Evolution Concept celebrated a birthday in October ( which I covered, bashed, and then promptly forgot about), Steph expressed his own displeasure that it was still being treated as something novel — describing the move as “pathetic.”

I’m inclined to agree.

There’s also the matter of Mitsubishi using iconic nameplates on its new SUVs. While the Eclipse Cross is a serviceable family vehicle, borrowing the name of one of my all-time favorite models (1st gen, thanks) still gets my dander up. The e-Evolution is another blow below the belt.

Worse still is that Mitsubishi said back in 2017 that it didn’t intend to ever put the crossover into production. That being the case, all we’re left with is a self-indulgent exhibition of semi-real technologies being repeatedly pushed to the forefront by a brand that seems to have run out out of ideas.

Everything featured on the e-Evolution looks like something we’ve seen before, and most of the really interesting stuff can’t be showcased without actually driving one. Mitsubishi wants to get a bunch of the high-tech kit envisioned in the concept into its next batch of cars. But how do you showcase the electric motors’ torque-vectoring active yaw control system or cooperative A.I. within the confines of an event center? You rather conveniently cannot.

Mitsubishi has made no small effort to turn itself around recently and has managed to improve sales volume within the United States every year since 2013. Maybe if it continues making wise decisions, it can actually build something like the e-Evolution and prove to us that it’s a worthy successor to the Evo sedan.

That said, Mitsubishi is planning on building something like the globetrotting concept, and there is a small chance that it might actually wear the Evo name. Earlier this year, the brand’s chief operating officer, Trevor Mann, said the Lancer would return as a near-crossover and likely use the e-Evolution as the design template. If it sells well enough, we’re betting a high-performance version will eventually arise.

[Images: Mitsubishi]

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  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Dec 02, 2018

    2019 Triton pickup is the one Mitsubishi that could immediately elevate the Mitsubishi brand in North America. Mitsubishi could assemble these from CKD either in Mexico, USA or Canada. Why not show this instead of the tired old e-Evolution concept? And may I suggest replacing the Outlander with the Pajero Sport.

  • Civicjohn Civicjohn on Dec 02, 2018

    Reminds me of a professional audio convention I was at back in the late 80s. At the time, Sony and Mitsubishi both made digital tape recorders for studios. Sony brought a Mitsubishi pickup truck into the display hall, and put their tape machine in the bed of the truck. They had signs all over the truck saying “Mitsubishi, they make a great truck!” Mitsubishi threw in the towel a couple of years later.

    • See 2 previous
    • Civicjohn Civicjohn on Dec 03, 2018

      @Scoutdude Thank you Scoutdude for clarifying what I thought was pretty obvious!

  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
  • ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.
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