Mitsubishi will once again compete in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a wild electric prototype car. The Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III, which is an update to last year’s car, will enter the 12.42-mile hill climb that finishes at 14,110 feet above sea level on June 29.
Compared to last year, the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III’s tube-frame chassis has been revised for reduced weight, and the bodywork and front spoiler were tested in a wind tunnel to improve aerodynamic downforce. The Mitsubishi continues to use a version of its Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system, which involves a single electric motor placed at each wheel, but for 2014 total system power increases from 536 hp to 603 hp. Mitsubishi also says it has reprogrammed the S-AWC system for “improved handling and traction.”
This year, Mitsubishi will once again enlist drivers Hiroshi Masuoka and Greg Tracy to pilot the MiEV Evolution III at Pikes Peak. Last year, Masuoka earned a second-place finish in the hill climb’s electric vehicle class, while Tracy finished in third place.
Using multiple electric motors to provide all-wheel-drive performance is a clear focus for Mitsubishi. In addition to using such layouts for its Pikes Peak race cars, the Japanese company has shown several concepts using a similar powertrain arrangement. The Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV, for instance, which debuted both at last year’s Tokyo auto show as a crossover and as a virtual race car in the Gran Turismo 6 video game, uses both electric motors and a gasoline engine to create a through-the-road hybrid all-wheel-drive system.