The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an enjoyably plucky little egg-shaped electric car, but it’s not exactly the pinnacle of speed. That’s why it was an intriguing surprise when Mitsubishi participated in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

  • Car: 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution; 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (EU/JPN market)
  • Location: Unknown
  • Photog: Unknown
  • Camera: Unknown

As an owner, I can attest to the i-MiEV experience. A sprint from zero to 60 mph comes somewhere in the 15-second range, and the top speed is only 81 mph. The car’s dire performance numbers and goofy looks beg for an ugly-duckling transformation, like one you’d see in a rom-com or Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Mitsubishi delivered in the form of the i-MiEV Evolution prototype (left) and an i-MiEV racecar (right).

Like every makeover scene in the golden age of romantic comedies, Mitsubishi gave the dumpy i-MiEV a hair cut, took off its proverbial glasses, put on a new dress, and flipped it into a superfast hill-climbing beast. The Evolution model uses the same electric motors and lithium-ion batteries found in the i-MiEV, but it has a new aerodynamic carbon fiber body, a tube-frame chassis, a triple-motor powertrain, and a tweaked all-wheel-drive system. The i-MiEV racecar that still looks like the i-MiEV was only changed with new front and rear bumpers, performance shocks and springs, a roll cage, and a safety harness. Mitsubishi chose to leave everything else the same, including the tires.

With the addition of the car hauler, it’s not the worst three-car solution you could have.

  • Peter Nelson took his tuned Mazda 2 to the dyno. These are the results.
  • Chris Rosales spent $8,000 fixing his crashed VW Golf GTI, and it was worth every penny.
  • Take a few minutes to reminisce about Joe Isuzu, a truly bizarre character invented to sell cars with obvious lies.
  • Tested and reviewed: Oculus VR sim racing is truly immersive, but it has its downsides.
  • The new mail truck’s 8.6 MPG fuel economy figure is being taken out of context, Kevin Williams writes. And when the LLV contract is over, the old mail trucks should be converted and recycled.
  • This is a big deal: Proposed REPAIR act protects small auto shops and consumers from OEM monopolies.