Mitsubishi previews its future
Mitsubishi outlined its future direction with the unveiling of a high-performance all-electric SUV at the Tokyo Motor Show, called the e-Evolution Concept. The use of the Evolution name on an SUV might not sit well with some Mitsubishi purists, but the company wants to get to the stage where the name means more than just homologation specials. The Tokyo concept isn't designed to preview any single upcoming model; rather it signals Mitsubishi's intent to roll out a more SUV-focused model range, which will include at least two pure EVs. It is likely that the company will give future buyers the choice of powertrain, be that petrol, plug-in hybrid or pure electric.
The Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept casts a coupe-like silhouette, helped by its floating roof design. It features a distinctive face that is dominated by a large black grille design, though, being electric, the grille's aesthetic, not functional. It is covered by a glass cover with distinctive blue accents. Behind is an advanced camera and sensors for its driving assistance systems. Large scoops below the headlights channel air in to cool the electric brake callipers.
The raked windscreen is more sports car than SUV, as is the sloped rear. Its high, strong shoulder line is defined by a sharp crease that rises up from the front wheelarch and runs along the side to the rear wheel. Innovative aerodynamics draw in air through the C-pillar to exit on either side of the rear bumper, something that Mitsubishi designers say is undergoing continuing development and could make it into future production models. At the back, the unusual hexagon shape is a nod to the spare wheel cover that has long been a feature of the company's off-road vehicles. Rear-hinged back doors open to reveal a cabin entry with no B-pillar, to maximise ease of entry and add to the spacious feeling.
Unsurprisingly for a motor show concept, the interior of the Mitsubishi e-Evolution is a futuristic take on the modern SUV. Common Mitsubishi design elements like the defined horizontal dashboard, remain. Whereas Mitsubishi is well-known for its functional interiors, the concept features a noticeable step up in design. This is dominated by three large, centrally mounted screens. Below this, a separate centre console cluster houses the drive select and climate controls. The driver gets a half steering wheel featuring a smaller instrument cluster just above it. A generous glazed area, including glass panels in the roof section, provides ample visibility for the occupants.
The e-Evolution concept is powered by a high-capacity battery system that is located centrally beneath the floor to lower the centre of gravity, thus boosting the vehicle's handling. By using a tri-motor setup, the sporty SUV should have significant levels of traction and grip. Mitsubishi applied its extensive experience of four-wheel-drive technology to the e-Evolution concept to give it a distinctly sporty feel. The triple motor four-wheel-drive transmission uses a single motor to drive the front wheels, while the rear is controlled by a new Dual-Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) system comprising of two rear motors that are linked to an electronically controlled torque-vectoring AYC unit. The braking system forgoes conventional hydraulic brakes in favour of electric callipers.
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