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Mitsubishi i-MiEV & i-MiEV Evolution

2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb




August 7 – August 12


Pikes Peak International Hill Climb


The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb competition is a time trial event for automobiles and motorcycles held annually at Colorado Springs, Colorado around Independence Day weekend and attracts over 150 competitors every year.

The very first event was held in 1916 and it is the second oldest motorsports event held in the United States following the famed Indianapolis 500.

Pikes Peak is located in the Rocky Mountains just 16 miles west of Colorado Springs. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a unique time trial competition commencing at an elevation of 9,390 feet, with the race course winding its way around the mountain, all the way up to the finish line located at a sky-high 14,110 foot elevation mark.

The course length of 12.42 miles consists of 156 corners, and with an average climb gradient of 7%, it imposes extraordinarily challenging driving conditions upon the driver while navigating up the mountain.

Additionally, due to the great elevation change from the start line to the finish line (a climb of 4,720 feet), dealing with temperature, air pressure, weather and other atmospheric conditions adds to the unique challenges of this intense competition. Compact in size yet amazingly space efficient and structurally sound, the 2012 North American-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV 100% electric-powered vehicle is based on a platform that has served tens of thousands of consumers well in markets around the globe.



Why Pikes Peak?


 With its highly successful history winning multiple championships in the extremely difficult World Rally Championship (WRC) and Dakar Rally, Mitsubishi Motors believes strongly that motorsports is the ultimate proving ground for vehicles. With the company being the first auto manufacturer to successfully mass-produce and market a 100% electric-powered vehicle – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and its derivatives have already sold nearly 26,000 units throughout Japan, Europe (even chilly Scandinavia) and Asia – the Japanese auto manufacturer would like to continue developing and advancing EV technology so that it remains the leader in this new form of advanced eco-friendly transportation. 

Mitsubishi Motors will be competing in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, battling its steep terrain, constantly changing climate and ultra-challenging driving conditions with two vehicles: an essentially stock version of the 100% electric 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and an advanced race-spec version of the car, dubbed the “i-MiEV Evolution.”

Both vehicles will be powered by Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV) EV technology.

            The dual entry of race vehicles at the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb marks the first time that the Japanese auto manufacturer has ever competed in this world-famous event with 100% electric-powered vehicles.

The high-performance EV prototype will be equipped with a high-output electric motor and an exclusively-designed tube-frame chassis paired with Mitsubishi’s highly-advanced proprietary All-Wheel Control (AWC) all-wheel drive technology specially developed for this competition vehicle.

As first-time participants in the Electric Vehicle division, Mitsubishi Motors will compete in the Pikes Peak event with the goal of achieving a record time with the i-MiEV Evolution.

The showroom stock rear-wheel drive Mitsubishi i-MiEV entry will showcase the ability of the EV and prove that it has the capability to match the driving performance of internal combustion engine vehicles by reliably completing the run through the various challenging conditions presented by this course.

Mitsubishi Motors’ main goal will be to use the data obtained through the participation in the grueling hill climb event to enhance the durability and reliability of its advanced 100% electric vehicles (EV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and conventional gas- or diesel-powered hybrid vehicles that the company will be bringing to market around the globe in the not-so-distant future.

Additionally, the i-MiEV Evolution is equipped with a very sophisticated new form of Mitsubishi’s outstanding All-Wheel Control (AWC) all-wheel drive system that utilizes the electric motors for precision tractability and control. Feedback from this event will be used for a similar All-Wheel Control (AWC) system that will be available on the next-generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) when it arrives in North America in the near future.

The Mitsubishi Motors EV racing team will compete with a pair of highly advanced state-of-the-art 100% electric-powered vehicles in the 2012 Pikes Peak international Hill Climb event to not only increase the awareness and visibility of the EV but also to demonstrate the high level of technology engineered into each Mitsubishi Motors electric vehicle and its EV-related components and systems.

Furthermore, engineers from the development division of Mitsubishi Motors – as well as key personnel from its partner manufacturers for its lithium-ion batteries, electric motors and other critical electric vehicle-specific components – will be sent to the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb to promote closer ties and the sharing of technology and know-how for the purpose of further boosting the company’s already class-leading electric vehicle (EV) development capabilities.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution – the name chosen in a vote by visitors to the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) Facebook page – is a highly-advanced purpose-built prototype racing machine designed specifically to compete in the 2012 running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event.

The vehicle was developed at the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) Okazaki design headquarters and manufactured at West Racing Cars in Suzuka, Japan (the city of Suzuka is Japan’s motorsports capitol).  

In addition to its lightweight yet sturdy tube-frame chassis and its aerodynamically-enhanced carbon-fiber bodywork for reduced drag with maximum downforce, other design features incorporated into the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution racing car are an enhanced electric motor and lithium-ion main battery pack and a powerfully efficient enhanced competition driving regenerative braking system – the latter item to not only provide ample stopping but to also feed valuable "free" energy back into the main battery pack.

While the i-MiEV Evolution is a prototype racing car, numerous components and systems are carried over from the street-legal production car. These include the electric motor, lithium-ion batteries, MCU, communication wiring for controls, and various instrumental panel gauge. Utilizing as many stock components and systems from the production 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a critical design element to the i-MiEV Evolution because Mitsubishi Motors engineers want to identify performance limitations of these production parts under the strenuous conditions of the Pikes Peak event so that they may work with their supplier partners (many of whom have sent key personnel to the Pikes Peak event) to gather and share engineering feedback. This will help to improve these components and systems not only for the current production Mitsubishi i-MiEV but on numerous EVs, plug-in electric vehicles (PHEV) and other technologically advanced vehicles that Mitsubishi will be launching in the near future.      



The i-MiEV Evolution features three electric motors, one front motor and two rear motors. These electric motors are identical to those found in the production Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but they have received a software upgrade to increase the motor’s power output from 49 kW (65.7 horsepower) to a more potent 80 kW (107.3 horsepower).

Likewise, the individual lithium-ion battery cells found in the production Mitsubishi i-MiEV have been used for energy storage in the i-MiEV Evolution, just in a larger quantity. While the road going version of the vehicle’s main battery pack stores a total of 16 kWh, the Pikes Peak car’s energy storage is rated at 35 kWh – more than twice as large as that of the street car.

Cooling of the lithium-ion batteries is accomplished by a ventilation fan (per Pikes Peak regulations) while the electric motors are cooled in a nearly identical manner to that of the electric motor in the production Mitsubishi i-MiEV, using a similar water-cooled system.

The lithium-ion batteries have been placed very low in the vehicle on both sides of the cockpit to achieve an optimum 50/50 weight distribution as well as a low center of gravity.

While the production Mitsubishi i-MiEV can be conveniently charged by either an ordinary 120V electrical wall outlet (Level 1), a 240V home charger (Level 2) or by a rapid DC quick charger, the i-MiEV Evolution is charged exclusively by DC quick-charging; Mitsubishi will have a specially-prepared truck equipped with a CHAdeMO DC quick-charging device at the Pikes Peak event.



The i-MiEV Evolution features a strong yet lightweight tube-frame chassis for maximum structural rigidity.

The shape of the body is based on the original form of the production Mitsubishi i-MiEV vehicle but has an enhanced track at both the front and the rear to improve vehicle stability. Additionally, sections of the carbon-fiber-based body have been aerodynamically enhanced through both wind tunnel research and computer-aided design (CAD) to reduce drag while providing welcome downforce (this includes the addition of a large rear wing) at high altitude.

Though a premium has been put on downforce and acceleration rather than outright top speed, the i-MiEV Evolution is still capable of reaching a lofty 112 mph (180 km/h).

 The suspension design at all four corners of the vehicle is a sophisticated double-wishbone setup with coil-over racing dampers to allow fine tuning of the shock absorbers damping speed through bump and rebound adjustments.



Electric Motor Characteristics


By reworking the inverter control settings and increasing the maximum rpm to 11,000, engineers were able to select a shorter gear ratio to gain an advantage in acceleration speed.

A key characteristic of these changes is that the electric motors are able to maintain maximum torque output in a lower rpm range for better lower and mid-range acceleration that better suits the uphill climb of the roads that wind their way along the Pikes Peak course, with the added benefit of minimizing the power output loss at higher rpm levels (when compared to the stock production i-MiEV). 

Of note, both the electric motor and its accompanying inverter hardware are identical to those found on the street-legal 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

High Voltage System Configuration


Using the identical individual lithium-ion battery cells from the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV production vehicle, a higher voltage and capacity was achieved by connecting two cells in parallel, 96 cell pairs in series.

Each electric motor will receive information from its own controller to generate/modify torque output. Of note, the two electric motors placed at the rear of the vehicle are directly connected and are synchronous, while the single front motor feeds power to the front wheels through the production-spec transmission found in the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV production car. 

Advanced New Mitsubishi All-Wheel Control (AWC) All-Wheel Drive

The technologically-advanced All-Wheel Control (AWC) all-wheel drive system on the i-MiEV Evolution makes use of the electric motors placed front and rear and connected to the all-wheel drive system to deliver and control with absolute precision the amounts of torque delivered to the vehicle’s wheels.

The All-Wheel Control (AWC) system combines the output from the pair of electric motors at the rear of the car and distributes the power to the right- and left-side wheels using a conventional differential.

The All-Wheel Control (AWC) installed on the i-MiEV Evolution has been specifically configured for the Pikes Peak course to not only precisely control tractability but to aid the car’s deceleration and turn-in as well as acceleration out of corners.

The one front/two rear electric motor layout was selected to provide a 1:2 front-to-rear ratio of power application. By doing so, Mitsubishi engineers were able to achieve the tractability and stability benefits of all-wheel drive while allowing the car to have handling characteristics more akin to that of a rear-wheel drive vehicle – the best of both worlds in terms of ideal vehicle dynamics.

Depending upon the condition of the road surface at Pikes Peak, the team will be able to adjust the front/rear power application level to maximize the vehicle’s dynamic performance.

Data gathered from the new All-Wheel Control (AWC) all-wheel drive system used on the i-MiEV Evolution will be used to help develop a highly advanced AWC system that will be available on the next-generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) when it arrives in North America in the near future.

Two-time Dakar Rally winner Hiroshi Masuoka will pilot the i-MiEV Evolution at the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution Specifications

Length x width x height






Drive train



No installed

3 unitsFront 1, Rear 2

Max Output

240kW80kW×3 units


Total Electric power



Custom tube frame


Carbon fiber


Dunlop DIREZZA 03G245/40R18



Mitsubishi i-MiEV

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an essentially stock version of the Japanese auto manufacturer’s production EV that is available for sale at certified Mitsubishi Motors dealers throughout the United States.

The only changes that have been made to the rear-wheel drive vehicle to compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb have been the addition of performance shock absorbers and springs to the suspension (tires remain unchanged from street-legal car), a roll cage, and changes to the front and rear bumper to improve aerodynamics.

The vehicle’s main components – the electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack, single-speed transmission and EV drivetrain heating and cooling system – have not been modified in any way and are the exact components and systems included on every production Mitsubishi i-MiEV model sold in the United States.

The electric motor produces 49 kW (65.7 horsepower) from 3,000 to 6,000 rpm and 144.6 lb.-ft. of torque.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV Specifications

Length x Width (in.)

144.7 x 62.4

Height (in.)


Weight (lb.)

Approximately 2,447

Battery Capacity

16 kWh


49kW electric motor

Drive Type


Tire Size

F – 145/65/R15

R – 175/60/R15

Hiroshi Masuoka

Hiroshi Matsuoka is a Japanese rally racing legend, having scored overall victories in such prestigious events as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Rally, the Italian Baja and the world famous Dakar Rally.

In 2002 and 2003, he became the first Japanese driver to win the grueling Dakar Rally in consecutive years.

Hiroshi has been a participant in numerous off-road racing events around the world beginning in 1981; he first contested the Dakar Rally beginning in 1987.

He is currently employed full-time at Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) as Senior Expert, Product Strategy, where his unique skills are put to excellent use in vehicle development and in analyzing components, working as a vehicle test driver and in Mitsubishi driver development, and operating/managing domestic and overseas test drives and events.

Hiroshi currently resides in Irima, Saitama Prefecture, Japan.



  Beccy Gordon

Professional SCORE International off-road series race-winning driver Beccy Gordon will be behind the wheel of the 100% electric-powered 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV production-based racing car in this year’s annual running of the famed Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on August 12, 2012.

Beccy Gordon comes from a family with a rich history in auto racing – brother Robby had a distinguished career in Indy Car, NASCAR and off-road racing; sister Robyn is the first woman to score an overall victory in the difficult Baja 1000; father Bob was a longtime combatant in off-road racing; and great-grandfather Huntley was an Indy car driver in the early 1900s.

Beccy is married to Ryan Hunter-Reay, currently a driver for Andretti Autosport in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

“I’m really looking forward to driving the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in the Pikes Peak race this year,” said Beccy. “And I’m really excited about driving a 100% electric-powered car since this type of vehicle will likely play a major role in both our daily transportation and motorsports in the future.”





Mitsubishi Motors would like to thank its partners in their support of the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb:

Advics Co., Ltd.

Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd.

Dunlop Goodyear Tires Ltd.

Endless Advance Co., Ltd.

Enkei Corporation

GKN Driveline Japan Ltd

GS Yuasa Corporation

Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd.

HKS Co., Ltd.

Kenwood Corporation

Meidensha Corporation

Mikuni Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Mitsubishi Motors Dealers Association

NHK Spring Co., Ltd.

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha

NTN Corporation

Real Power ®

Showa Corporation

Toray Industries, Inc.

Tsuchiya Co., Ltd

Mitsubishi Takes On Pike's Peak

S5 Box