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Tokyo show: Mitsubishi uncovers e-Evolution concept

Evolutionary tale: Lancer Evo fans might be left disappointed but Mitsubishi is at least still pointing to its performance-car heritage (and its future priorities) with the sporting all-electric e-Evolution SUV concept.

SUV concept with tri-electric motor previews Mitsubishi’s high-performance future

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Mitsubishi logo25 Oct 2017

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

MITSUBISHI Motors Corporation (MMC) today unveiled its e-Evolution concept at the Tokyo motor show that stands as a spiritual successor to several generations of all-wheel-drive sports sedan and a preview of a potential production high-performance all-electric small SUV.

Pointing to a possible return to building more exciting vehicles, MMC described the concept – its first to be unveiled since entering the Renault-Nissan Alliance last year – as “a technical prototype to illustrate the strategic direction of a renewed MMC”.

The Japanese manufacturer further spruiked the value of a “new ethos” inside the company – said to be embodied by the e-Evolution concept – which would “expand its customer base” and “accelerate its EV development”.

It also said in a statement that “the banner of superior, high-performance 4WD control is carried forward by the Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept”.

Reviving a name used across 10 generations of Mitsubishi’s high-performance all-wheel-drive small sedan, which concluded with the Lancer Evolution X Final Edition in 2015, the four-seater five-door e-Evolution swaps out a turbocharged four-cylinder engine for an electric motor powering the front wheels and two other motors feeding the rear tyres.

The rear electric motors form part of a so-called Dual Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) system described as an electronically controlled torque-vectoring system that can individually power one or both back wheels, and which works in concert with a Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamics system as seen in previous Evolution sedans.

An underfloor battery pack has also been designed to ensure a low centre of gravity.

MMC says the concept uses “high-torque, high-performance electric motors, fed by a high-capacity battery system to deliver the smooth and powerfully responsive performance that distinguishes EVs from ICE (internal combustion engine) powered vehicles”.

“(With) the triple motor 4WD system … cornering performance and traction performance are improved,” the company said.

“Whether driving around town, on expressways or winding roads, the fully electric vehicle always provides crisp and nimble handling that faithfully mirrors the driver intent.” Appearing similar in size and stance to the Mitsubishi eX concept shown in 2015, the e-Evolution has a coupe-style rear roofline and B-pillar-less side design with suicide rear doors opening to a futuristic cabin.

A more aggressive version of the car-maker’s ‘dynamic shield’ front grille has been employed, with ‘floating’ hexagonal inserts behind clear glass flanked on each side by nine rectangles that form the part of the LED headlight treatment.

According to the car-maker, the raised rear tailgate nestled between the Y-shaped tail-lights (and matching the shape of the rear glass moving towards the C-pillar treatment) gives a nod to the spare tyre cover of the Mitsubishi Pajero.

Inside, designers “suddenly had the freedom to go beyond the traditional firewall” thanks to the absence of an ICE.

A sweeping widescreen dominates the dashboard ahead of a smaller tri-screen driver display, which on the concept shows a monitor for the driver’s wellbeing.

A half-sized steering wheel provides a greater view of the driver display, while the raised centre console incorporates an automatic transmission lever, off-road mode dial and a small touchscreen flanked by climate controls.

In addition to its performance push, MMC said the e-Evolution concept would “push the technological envelope with a tightly integrated system of AI (artificial intelligence), connectivity, on-board and cloud computing”.

AI sensors can read road and traffic changes, and movements in the driver’s intent to “augment” a particular owner’s capabilities. It is also able to gather data on a driver’s skill level and “unobtrusively” provide a driver training program that provides instructions through voice guidance and visual display.

MMC said the design of the e-Evolution “expresses the readiness to grip the ground with all four wheels, and the agility of a high-performance cross-country tourer”.

“We aim to provide vehicles that fulfil our customers’ desires through outstanding design, combined with the power, authenticity and carefully considered functionality Mitsubishi Motors is known for,” added MMC head of global design Tsunehiro Kunimoto.

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