Mitsubishi has revived the famous Evolution moniker at the Tokyo motor show with the reveal of the e-Evolution concept.
The pure-electric, four-wheel drive SUV coupé is billed by Mitsubishi as a “technology concept” car, previewing future electric powertrain technology and the ability to reach Level 4 autonomy, which allows the driver to have their ‘mind-off’.
Mitsubishi executive vice president Mitsuhiko Yamashita described at its Tokyo unveiling as a “new evolution of the SUV” that proposes “a new direction for Mitsubishi Motors”.
The body of the new SUV is understood to preview Mitsubishi's upcoming rival to the Nissan Juke, due in 2018/19, albeit toned down from the overtly concept car styling seen here.
The technology on the concept is all viable for production, but the firm has not yet decided if it will be used for an Evo model.
There will be an Evo in the future, in around 2022/23, although no concrete plans yet exist for what form it will take. To that end, Mitsubishi is keeping its options open on which style and type of car it will be a version of, and which technology will power it.
Instead, Mitsubishi is prioritizsing the launch of six new models and five facelifted ones of the next three years, typically more SUVs, all-wheel drive and electrified models, as part of a recovery plan aimed at boosting sales volumes and revenues by 30%, and harnessing the economies of scale that being part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance can bring.
It’s the technology of the car that previews production intent, and shows the way for Mitsubishi to create a fully electric SUV in its next generation of models beyond 2020.
Three motors power the mid-sized SUV – one at the front and two at the rear – with the two rear ones enabling active yaw control. It uses Mitsubishi’s S-AWC all-wheel drive system, meaning Super All Wheel Control, for permanent four-wheel drive.
Traction control akin to that seen on current SUVs confirms that the concept is also geared towards off-road driving, and has separate settings for snowy and sandy conditions. Indeed, Mitsubishi has made a link to the past Evo models in a video of the car conquering rally-style terrain and trails.
It has the dramatic angular styling of recent Mitsubishi concepts but is less rugged in its execution.Inside, the technology laden e-Evolution uses both augmented reality, to feed information to the driver more efficiently, and artificial intelligence, to underpin the car’s autonomous capability. Yamashita said the interior showed a future direction Mitsubishi could head in.
The model imagines a future Evo as an SUV despite the model’s history as a road-going version of its rallying sports saloon. It was last sold in this form in 2015, but none of the 1000 Final edition cars made it to the UK.
During the late 1990s Mitsubishi briefly produced a Pajero Evolution SUV in order to homologate cars for competitive use in a category of the Dakar Rally.