2017 Tokyo - Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept previews the brand's future

To say that we were shocked when Mitsubishi announced the Lancer Evolution series would be discontinued is an understatement. That happened quite some time back and since then, we have reconciled to the fact the Japanese car-maker's budgets just aren't big enough to develop an all-new generation of the loved-and-revered sports sedan and that they are playing to their strengths in making Electric Vehicles (EV) and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV).

Out went the Lancer Evolution, or 'Evo' as it is fondly called, with a 'Final Edition' marking its demise. Mitsubishi, back then, promised the nameplate would be back in a different form. That said, nobody would have guessed the car you see above would evolve into something you see right below.

After a series of teasers to jack up the interest quotient, Mitsubishi finally took the wraps off the e-Evolution Concept at the ongoing 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.  

The all-electric SUV concept indicates the potential direction Mitsubishi, as a brand, is headed. Combining the Japanese car-maker's know-how in making robust, go anywhere SUVs and futuristic EVs, the e-Evolution Concept arrives at just the right time. Demand for SUVs and crossovers are sky-rocketing globally and EVs are threatening to kill the IC Engine in a decade or two from now. 

Mitsubishi's SUVs are getting bolder of late and the e-Evolution Concept is yet another step in that direction. Up front, Mitsubishi's 'Dynamic Shield' takes a new form with a black mesh grille located underneath a layer of glass. The busy fascia houses twin pairs of LED lights with large air intakes below to cool the electric brake calipers. The steeply-raked windshields, short overhangs and high ground clearance give it 'go anywhere' proportions while the floating roof and aerodynamic profile, complete with a set of jet tail-fins at the C-pillars, look wild and modern. At the rear, things get busier with 3-winged boomerang-shaped taillights and a Pajero spare cover-inspired hexagonal panel being the highlights.

The design folks at Mitsubishi appears to have been given a free hand when it comes to interior layout and appointments. The flat-bottomed half-steering wheel, the floating instrument panel, the 3-part flat screen that runs the width of the dashboard and the wide center stack housing a plethora of dials and controls hint at things that could potentially trickle through to future production models. 

Powering the e-Evolution Concept are three electric motors with one driving the front wheels and two driving each of the rear wheels. The high-capacity battery pack is placed between the axles in the floor, thereby lowering the center of gravity and aiding vehicle dynamics. Off-roading credentials are aplenty courtesy full 4WD hardware comprising of an electronically-controlled torque-vectoring 'Active Yaw Control (AYC)' system integrated with Mitsubishi's unique Super All-Wheel Control system.

There's more, Mitsubishi has even equipped the e-Evolution Concept with Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can not just read changes in road and traffic conditions but also read driver's intent.

That Mitsubishi is trying to leverage its strong pedigree in making robust SUVs and intelligent Electric Vehicles (EV) is clear and well understood. That they are using the acclaimed 'Evolution' nameplate, easily one of the most recognizable models globally, is what is tough to digest.

Hello Subaru, the Impreza WRX STi's order books just got a fillip from loyalists who hoped against hope  for a new 'Evo' sedan. Don't even dare think of stopping them!

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