Mitsubishi e-Evolution packs AI driving instructor, drone connectivity

This month's Tokyo Motor Show will play host to this unique EV crossover SUV concept with three motors.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read
Jon Wong/Roadshow
Watch this: Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept rewrites the meaning of the Evo badge

Japan's biennial Tokyo Motor Show is just weeks away, and the automotive world has already been put on alert about Mitsubishi 's e-Evolution concept. But now, we have a better look at the aggressively designed electric sports crossover SUV, thanks to a pair of shadowy new teasers. 

Mitsubishi says the e-Evolution features a new artificial intelligence system that "augments the driver's capabilities." A sensory network compares road and traffic conditions and compares them to the driver's inputs to gauge intent. 

That sounds conventional enough, but there's a twist: A coaching mode also learns the driver's skill level, and then "constructs a training program that provides advice through voice dialogue and a large dashboard display." In other words, it's equipped with a personal onboard digital driving instructor.

Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept - front three-quarter view
Enlarge Image
Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept - front three-quarter view

Mitsubishi's e-Evolution probably isn't production bound, but some of its tech might be.


In addition to that car coach functionality, Mitsubishi says the e-Evolution will feature an AI personal assistant that learns occupants' voices and needs, learning "about them from their speech and behavior" in order to "provide services that best match their tastes and needs." The AI system can even communicate with a drone to check traffic conditions or simply provide a panoramic view of nearby scenery.

The e-Evolution looks to have a particularly pugnacious front end, with a design language that looks largely unlike other Mitsubishi models. Thin light strips (daytime running lamps?) bleed into a massive, blacked-out, grille-like center grid, and a wraparound windshield terminates in a unique double-bubble roof treatment. 

Thanks to a new profile photo, it's also apparent that the e-Evolution has four doors, but which way they open remains a mystery. Either way, the concept has a very dramatic side view, with extremely raked front and rear glass suggesting the design's priority is more on sport than utility.

What's more, we have a clearer idea of what lurks under the vehicle's skin, too. Set to be revealed on Oct. 25, the e-Evolution receives a new three-motor all-wheel drive system, with one powering the front wheels and a pair of torque-vectoring motors out back that feature Active Yaw Control. Power figures and range have not yet been disclosed, but since this vehicle is a concept, such numbers are somewhat academic (if not outright theoretical).

Mitsubishi e-Evolution SUV concept signals a different type of Evo

See all photos

There have been some hurt feelings among enthusiasts about Mitsubishi appending its legendary Evolution moniker to a crossover instead of a next-generation, rally-ready sport sedan, but those with long memories and a penchant for minutia may remember that this isn't the first time the automaker has used the term on a performance SUV. Either way, the e-Evolution Concept will probably never see production. That said, some sort of Evolution-badged SUV seems increasingly likely to reach showrooms.

In addition to the e-Evolution Concept, the Japanese automaker will have a special area at the Tokyo Motor Show to show off Amazon Echo compatibility, suggesting that "Alexa, start my Mitsubishi" voice commands probably aren't far off.