Mitsubishi goes electric

Published: 24 October 2007

What on earth is that?

The iMIEV Sport, a teardrop coupe based on the same running gear as the regular iMIEV (more of which shortly), but with two in-wheel electric motors at the front to complement the single electric motor under the boot driving the rear wheels. The firm says the set-up can mimic the four-wheel drive grip of the S-AWC system used in the Evo X, but there are no plans to put it into production.

So what's all this about the iMIEV?

Mitsubishi confirmed that the iMIEV electric car would go on sale earlier than the initial 2010 target, and that it is actively investigating bringing the car to Europe. Based on the Mitsubishi i, it’s a four-seat electric-only city car with a 100-mile range, a 80mph top speed and a likely price tag of under £15,000.

Isn’t naming a saloon the ZT bad karma?

This is the Concept ZT – but it will be the replacement for the Galant in the US and Japan. There are currently no plans to bring the Galant back to Europe, but if you like the look of this concept, Mitsubishi could be persuaded. The promotional film accompanying its unveiling was shot in Europe, so maybe that’s a clue. It’s a remarkably clean, unfussy design, with little complicated detailing or surfacing, and it shares the stronger new Mitsu face with the CX crossover concept shown at Frankfurt. We like it. The problem is its size; at nearly five metres, it’s longer than an A6, and Mitsu doesn’t think it has the brand image to support a big, premium car. Let us – and them – know if you think otherwise.

And I guess the Evo X was there too?

Yes, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X made its Japanese debut at this year’s Tokyo show. But Mitsubishi managed to scoop itself; this was supposed to be the car’s big show unveiling, but it actually had the covers whipped off earlier in the month in Australia. Mitsubishi rightly figured that having teased us with thinly disguised concept versions for literally years, and having let CAR Online drive it last month, the Evo X was inevitably going to play third fiddle to the new Nissan GT-R and the Subaru Impreza STi in Tokyo, and it thought it would get more impact in Oz.

By Ben Oliver

Contributing editor, watch connoisseur, purveyor of fine features