Big in Japan: Highlights from the Tokyo Motor Show

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Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept
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Image via Mitsubishi7/10

Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept

Auto shows present a rare opportunity for even small brands to renew themselves. Mitsubishi has a tiny footprint in the U.S. market, but a pretty historic one in off-road circles internationally, with legendary models like the Pajero. What’s cool here is that Mitsubishi is doing something a lot of off-road enthusiasts want to see—taking the idea of a “real” off-roader EV seriously.

To that end the e-Evolution does several things right (even if it’s just a concept). First, check out the greenhouse. It’s massive and drops relatively low, so the driver can see the corners of the vehicle. That’s all thanks to the fact that it’s an EV with three electric motors and AWD, rather than having a single motor mounted under the hood (which would prevent having such a large window-to-sheetmetal ratio). Mitsubishi says the powertrain would be focused on producing torque, obviously ideal for off-roading, and that this sort of system would offer unique advantages over any internal-combustion drivetrain, since instant torque is indeed a unique advantage of EVs over gas-powered vehicles. The other advantage is that Mitsubishi centers the bulk of vehicle mass, the battery, between the front and rear axles, and low, within the floor, so you’d also gain handling that can’t be achieved by high-riding 4x4s.

On the inside Mitsubishi added a full-width flat screen that, they say, would coach the driver on obstacles they might not be able to see both front and rear (shown as 360-degree view).

While much of what Mitsubishi presents here is feasible right now, one aspect, electric brakes with no hydraulics, is unlikely. Electronic brakes are already used for parking, but most carmakers haven’t gone to full brake-by-wire because hydraulic systems have proven so reliable. This tech will come at some point, but our bet is that it will take a larger brand than Mitsubishi to go first. 

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