In the last week, rumours have swirled about Mitsubishi planning on a Lancer Evo comeback. Last year we see a concept that moved the famous sedan to a crossover concept which really made no sense, that’d be better serviced by a new nameplate.
While the Mitsubishi Evo lived a good life from it’s first generation back in 1992, that ended with the Evo X in May 2016. Throughout its time on the market, it’s fierce battle with Subaru’s WRX STi really helped refine the 4-door saloon into a rally-bread beast.
Unfortunately Mitsubishi lost their way and decided to end one of their most popular vehicles, the Lancer Evolution. In my eyes the job wasn’t done, the car wasn’t perfect and now looking towards 2020 and beyond, this car should be on the market, but with one key difference.
That difference is the drivetrain, it needs to be electric, not hybrid, fully electric.
As we’ve seen from other manufacturers, Electric Vehicles offer insane performance, something the Evo was always trying to do, but tried to do it all with a 2.0L turbocharged motor under the hood.
Those impressive electric motors, powered by lithium-ion batteries are outperforming combustion engines and the Evo should only be reborn if it leverages the drivetrain of tomorrow.
Mitsubishi has an interesting history with electric vehicles. They introduced the iMiev at around A$60,000 for a small car which was always going to be a hard sell and with just 170km range and low sales volumes, it was eventually scrapped.
Back in 2005, Mitsubishi actually had a prototype Lancer Evo EV, which actually used an innovative in-wheel motor system for its power delivery. The car was good for 0-100km/hr in under 7 seconds.. yep, 7.. that’s laughable by today’s standards at more than double that of a Model 3 Performance.
Had Mitsubishi continued with the EV path, they really could be considered among the leaders in the industry today, but somewhere along the line, some poor decision let the wheels fall off.
Apparently Mitsubishi put 24 GS Yuasa high-performance battery packs in of these cars, which were good for 200kW (50kW per wheel) and 250km of range with a top speed of 250km. Mitsubishi even put the Lancer EVO IX MIEV in a cross-country rally event in Japan and finished 4th. The performance proved that electric cars can still have as much athletic performance as gasoline models.
Mitsubishi, please bring back the Evo (yes the design could do with an update (wouldn’t take much from the X), but it’s the drivetrain you need to catch up on.
All the cool new automotive companies (and the one’s that’ll be around in 10 years) have skateboard platforms of which to build many vehicles on top of. These include Tesla, Rivian, BYD and more, the key is that you have to start and the catchup game is hard if you’re only starting now.
Something people loved about Evo’s is the noise. There’s no reason Mitsubishi couldn’t get experimental with artificial sounds pumped into the cabin. This is already happening in subtle ways, but why not blow it out and have the option to have your Evo EV sound like any 1 of the 2 models of Evo from years gone by?