If you want to make a racing car immune to altitude sickness, electric motors – which rely on air for cooling only – are the perfect place to start.

Mitsubishi Motors started with three of them, all mechanically identical to the one you’ll find in the production i-MiEV EV. One mounts in the nose, driving the front wheels, while the other two are squeezed into the space behind the cabin and drive the rears.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
Colour, trim and wheel choices are very limited. For touring use, you might want to develop your own Perspex windscreen and hand-operated wiper

Given a software refresh from their conservative production tune, each one spins to a maximum 11,000rpm and produces a peak 107bhp and 148lb ft of torque. They drive through reduction gearing of approximately 7:1.

The layout gives the i-MiEV Evo a default one-third/two-thirds torque split between the front and rear axles, which MMC considers ideal for a racing all-wheel-driver. But the rear motors are connected in parallel and drive a conventional mechanical limited-slip diff. MMC engineers admit that an independent motor for each rear wheel would have brought big benefits on asymmetrical torque vectoring, but they simply didn’t have time to develop such a system. Not for the car’s debut season, at any rate.

The power for those motors comes, via the same high-voltage power management inverters used on the standard i-MiEV, from 96 pairs of lithium ion battery cells housed on either side of the cockpit, in overgrown side pods, which provide 35kWh of stored direct current.

They also account for a third of the weight of the entire car, so housing them inside the wheelbase, low to the ground, gives the i-MiEV Evolution a very low centre of gravity and a perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

The body of the car is a high-strength steel spaceframe – with a roof but no windows – on which panels of carbonfibre-reinforced plastic are fixed. Suspension is by double wishbones at both ends and consists of fully adjustable coil-overs.

Mitsubishi wouldn’t permit us to weigh the i-MiEV Evo. But the scrutineering form for the Pikes Peak records a figure, complete with driver Hiroshi Masuoka – who must account for little more than 60kg – of 1400kg exactly. Not as light as it looks, then. But considering the content, not a figure to be sniffed at, either.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Track cars

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK