One of the most revered performance nameplates in the motoring world has been resurrected… but we reckon the return of the Mitsubishi Evolution is a long shot at best.
Shown off last week at the Los Angeles motor show after its debut last year in Japan, the Japanese company is presenting the e-Evolution Concept as a cross between an electric car, small SUV, performance crossover and real-life video game.
The last EVO – which did battle with Subaru’s similarly specced WRX – left our market in 2015, leaving Mitsubishi with not-so dynamic range led by the likes of the Triton ute, the ageing Outlander and the affordable but bland ASX.
It does still offer the excellent Outlander PHEV petrol/electric hybrid SUV, which is set for an update in 2019.
The e-Evolution concept is sized somewhere between the now-ancient ASX and the brand’s latest SUV, the Eclipse Cross, and will – if it makes it into production – sport a trio of electric motors and a floor-mounted battery array.
Why a trio of motors? A single electric motor will add power to the front axle, while the rear axle will score a motor for each wheel. The pair will be used in conjunction with the company’s Super All Wheel Drive system and an active yaw-split torque control controller on the rear axle to provide a high level of chassis control.
Mitsubishi’s EVOs were renowned for their cornering prowess, so it’s little surprise that the e-Evolution concept would go down this path.
The concept takes this idea one step further, though, with the company suggesting that it could add artificial intelligence and machine learning to the driver loop to improve their skills.
The car would use AI to cross-reference its own responses to the driver’s inputs, and prevailing road conditions to add or deduct torque or braking at all four corners to improve handling, while voice and visual prompts are fed to the driver to help them find their inner four-time World Rally Championship winner.
Mitsubishi is fond of a good concept car, and the e-Evolution concept is probably as much a pointer towards the company’s next small SUV.
The ASX, for example, is almost old enough to go to high school, despite its continuing sales success against cars like the Mazda CX-3.
However, the brakes may well be on within the walls of Mitsubishi HQ in Tokyo, as the scandal involving former head Carlos Ghosn rolls on.
The company is the third wheel in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and any plans that the disgraced former leader put in place may take some time to unravel before a concrete model replacement plan is put in place.
Ghosn’s plans for all three companies to share platforms and technologies included using Mitsubishi’s EV expertise in conjunction with Renault, while vehicles like the Triton and the Nissan Navara, for example, would share a new common platform in future generations.
So will we see the e-Evolution make production? Never say never – much of the technology is viable and current, but it’ll be a few years before something this cool hits the EV space.