Posted May 18th 2012 1:30PM
No, that's not a Mitsubishi i-MiEV in a fat suit, it's the automaker's brand-new all-electric race car, and it's set to take on the 2012 Pike's Peak International Hill Climb in July. This isn't the first time we've seen an EV enter the Pike's Peak challenge – Nissan commissioned a Leaf for battle last year, a car that set the bar for all future electric racers.
Mitsubishi says that its race car, dubbed i-MiEV Evolution, uses the same motor, drive battery and other major components as the standard, bean-shaped electric car that we haven't quite grown to love. Aside from the additional bodywork, the chassis has clearly been lengthened and widened, and the race car now uses an all-wheel-drive configuration rather than the rear-wheel drive of the standard i-MiEV.
To give you an idea of just how big the racer is, a quick glance of Mitsubishi's specs show that the i-MiEV Evolution's dimensions are within a few centimetres of the stock Lancer Evolution. We wouldn't be surprised if the all-wheel-drive system was sourced from the Lancer, as well.
Mitsubishi will also be bringing two more of its EVs to the Pike's Peak event, including an i that has been updated with a more aerodynamic front bumper and new safety equipment, as well as a bone stock model.
Hit the jump for the official press release.
MITSUBISHI MOTORS' 2012 PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB TEAM & ALL-NEW ALL-ELECTRIC RACECAR ANNOUNCE i-MiEV EVOLUTION TO TACKLE PIKE SPEAK
Tokyo, May 18, 2012 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will enter two all-electric vehicles (EVs) in the Electric Class of the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb1. MMC will be aiming for victory in the Electric Class with the i-MiEV Evolution, a specially-prepared competition version based on the i all-electric vehicle2. MMC is also entering a regular production i in the event.
Enter the i-MiEV Evolution
The i-MiEV Evolution uses the same motor, drive battery and other major components as the production i and has been developed in cooperation with several partner companies including Meidensha Corporation and GS Yuasa Corporation. The i-MiEV Evolution has been developed to showcase MMC's advanced EV control and EV component technologies. MMC will use the technical knowhow garnered through the i-MiEVEvolution's development and usage for the development of future EV models with superior durability and reliability.
Driving the i-MiEV Evolution in the Pikes Peak event and also serving as team manager will be Mr. Hiroshi Masuoka - the first Japanese driver to post consecutive overall victories in the Dakar Rally. The Mitsubishi i will be piloted by Ms. Beccy Gordon, a winner in the Score International Off-Road Racing Series.
Developed for the Pikes Peak event, the i-MiEV Evolution basically uses the same motor, drive battery and other major components as the production i-MiEV fitted to a specially-designed racing-specific body which uses a tube-frame chassis and a carbon fibre cowl among other features designed to reduce weight and improve aerodynamic performance. Comprising a single motor driving the front and two motors driving the rear wheels, the car's four-wheel-drive system provides superior motive performance and handling.
L x W x H (mm) 4341 x 1900 x 1339
Drivetrain 4-wheel drive
Motors Number 3 (1 front, 2 rear)
Max. output (kW) 240 (80 kW x 3)
Drive battery Rated capacity (kWh) 35
Chassis Specially-designed tube frame
Cowl Carbon fibre
For the Pikes Peak event the production Mitsubishi i has been modified using a more aerodynamic front bumper and fitted with roll bars and other safety equipment.
The Mitsubishi i went on sale on the west coast of the United States (in the states of California, Washington and Oregon) and in Hawaii in November 2011 with plans to expand sales to the whole of the country by June 2012. The i also went on sale in Canada as the i-MiEV in December 2011, marking its full-scale launch targeting corporate and individual customers in the North American market.
L x W x H (mm) 3675 (+280) x 1585 (+110) x 1615 (+5)
Drivetrain Rear wheel drive
Motors Number 1
Max. output (kW/rpm) 49 (+2) / 3,000 - 6,000
Drive battery Rated capacity (kWh) 16
Tyres F: 145/65/R15
R: 175/60 (+5)/R15
Hiroshi Masuoka (Product Strategy Office, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation)
Hiroshi Masuoka began his Dakar Rally campaign in 1987 and became the first Japanese driver to post consecutive overall victories in the event when he won in 2002 and 2003. Currently Masuoka works at Mitsubishi Motors where his many duties include vehicle development, the training of company test drivers and the running of test drive sessions and other events both in Japan and overseas. Masuoka had the following to say before the event: "Given the tough driving conditions that Pikes Peak is known for, I'm really keen to show people the world over those electric vehicles are capable of gutsy motive performance and excellent handling in addition to their superior environmental performance."
Beccy Gordon is an American off-road racer. She grew up in a family in which her father, brother and sister have all been successful racing drivers, as is her husband today. Gordon herself is an experienced driver having raced in a wide spectrum of motor sports and she is also a motorsport spokesperson. Gordon commented before the event: "I'm really happy to be able to drive the Mitsubishi i in the Pikes Peak race and am looking forward to giving it my best in an electric car, the type of vehicle that is set to become a major player in motor sports in future."
Partner Companies (20 in all, listed in alphabetical order)
Advics Co., Ltd.
Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd.
Dunlop Goodyear Tires Ltd.
Endless Advance Co., Ltd.
GKN Driveline Japan Ltd.
GS Yuasa Corporation
Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd.
HKS Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Mitsubishi Motor Dealers Association
NHK Spring Co., Ltd.
NipponYusen Kabushiki Kaisha
Toray Industries, Inc.
Tsuchiya Co., Ltd.
News Source: Mitsubishi