Mitsubishi has released more technical detail on the updated all-electric competition car that it will enter in Colorado’s legendary Pikes Peak hillclimb this weekend.
Two examples of the MiEV Evolution II will be entered in the trail-blazing ‘EV Division’ of the hillclimb on Sunday, driven by two-time Dakar rally winner Hiroshi Masuoka and Pikes Peak motorbike specialist Greg Tracy, with the firm intention of breaking Toyota’s EV course record of 10 min 15.38sec set in 2012.
The all-new MiEV Evolution II is a ground-up redesign of last year’s i-MiEV Evolution as exclusively tested by Autocar. It is not only lighter than the car it replaces, but also features a much more sophisticated transmission, has a lower centre of roll, generates four times as much downforce and produces 66 per cent more power.
Four 134bhp electric motors replace three less powerful ones for the new design, with two each driving each axle. Overall power rises from 321bhp to 536, with peak output available over a much broader operating range than before. The motors are still ostensibly the same as the ones that power Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV production EV, fitted with more sophisticated electronic controllers.
While the two front motors drive through a common transmission, those at the rear operate through individual sets of reduction gearing per wheel, allowing for a much more advanced and fast-acting asymmetrical Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) four-wheel drive setup than previously. The motors are also capable of quicker regenerative braking, and more effective independent torque vectoring for better yaw control.
Power for the motors comes from a new 50kWh lithium-ion prototype battery pack (up from 35kWh) from Japanese supplier LEJ, positioned below the cabin floor rather than in the sidepods as before. The batteries have a carbonfibre-reinforced polymer casing, which saves weight and increases overall ridigity. They also provide a flat underbody for the car, which helps en route to the production of as much as four times the downforce of the Evolution I.
The MiEV Evolution II’s construction is tubular steel, clad in carbonfibre body panels. Its weight is unconfirmed, but will be declared at scrutineering for the hillclimb this week. It’s expected to be less than the 1400kg of last year’s car.
Mitsubishi set the second-fastest time for an EV at the 2012 Pikes Peak hillclimb with the Evolution I, just 16 seconds behind Toyota’s Radical-based EV P002. Among its main rivals for the EV class win this year will also be Pikes Peak hero ‘Monster’ Tajima in his E-Runner special, who was ruled out of last year’s finishing order by a cabin fire.