Mitsubishi plans to race an i-MiEV Prototype in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb later this year. The i-MiEV Prototype, based on the production Mitsubishi i electric vehicle (EV), will be piloted by two-time Dakar Rally winner Hiroshi Masuoka.
Although the Prototype uses largely stock powertrain, the i-MiEV prototype looks far different — in fact, it almost looks as if the stock i is lost beneath a maze of box flares. Japanese automaker will use the data logged during the hill climb to improve durability and reliability of current and future production EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs. Mitsubishi and its partner manufacturers will send a team of engineers to the event wade through the race data to better integrate all parts of upcoming EVs including batteries, motors and other components.
Hiroshi Masuoka, a two-time winner of the Dakar Rally, will pilot the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb July 8, 2012. Masuoka has participated in the Dakar Rally 21 times and took the first place finish in 2002 and 2003 behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Pajero and Pajero Evolution models, respectively.
Last year, Nissan sent a production Leaf up Pikes Peak to evaluate how well the EV could climb the hill. Still the idea of painfully slow EVs attacking one of the world’s greatest hill climb seems uneventful to us — although the return trip could be interesting, considering it would give the little i plenty time to recharge its battery by way of regenerative braking..
Pike’s Peak has long been a grueling test of vehicle endurance and power, so it’s somewhat curious that the i-MiEV (sold in the U.S. as the Mitsubishi i) was chosen, as it’s one of the slowest production cars currently available in the U.S. But if this attempt results in future i models being a little quicker and faster, we won’t complain.