By on November 30, 2018

Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept

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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13 Comments on “Mitsubishi Needs to Give the e-Evolution Concept a Rest...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Great catch. What hokum.

    Time to put up, Mitsubishi!

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi still makes cars?

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the VW ID Buzz, first seen in January of 2017 – that’s 2 years ago, more or less. Slated to go into production in … 2022. Five year lead time from concept to production seems a little long.

    • 0 avatar

      And they’re rolling out a new version of it every year so we don’t forget about it.

      Really though, it’s not a million miles removed design-wise from the 2001 Microbus concept, and the Bulli concept from a few years later.

      The current NSX had a similarly long gestation

  • avatar

    Evolution is a performance trim, it is not a specific model. Sorta like AMG. Kinda sad that no one in the U.S. has heard of the Pajero Evolution

  • avatar

    Evolution is a performance trim, it is not a specific model. Sorta like AMG. Kinda sad that no one in the U.S. has heard of the Pajero Evolution

  • avatar

    Did you guys saw Mitsu USA CEO Fred Diaz speech? He said all the right words! Mobility, Cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, Vehicle computing, Electrical powertrain, and other buzzwords, etc….

    Also, he was bragging how Mitsubishi “accurately predicted” the current environment of car sales years ago. So it is not a happy accident that they almost died in the US and only have 3 CUVs and the Mirage. Apparently that was their plan all along. *rollseyes*

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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