Interview with Mr Tanaka, Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II Team Engineer

Mitsubishi i MiEV Evolution II
The Mitsubishi i MiEV Evolution II will challenge the Pikes Peaks hill climb
Mitsubishi i MiEV Evolution II
The Mitsubishi i MiEV Evolution II will challenge the Pikes Peaks hill climb

Mitsubishi put a lot of research and effort into Pikes Peak 2013.  The car maker not only sponsored the event, but redesigned the MiEV Evolution II from the grounds up and teamed them with international race drivers.

In this second part of the interviews I conducted with the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II team, I spoke with Team Engineer manager Mr. Tanaka.  Mr. Tanaka explains how the MiEV Evolution II was redesigned.  Here is the recap.

Mr Tanaka, Technical Engineer Mitsubishi
NZ – What are the challenges to racing an electric prototype up Pikes Peak?
MT – Obviously, racing a short race, only 20 kilometer is the best proving ground for us and our electric drivetrain technology.  We don’t need to carry too much battery and of course, altitude is not a problem.

NZ – As the team technical Engineer, what do you look for with the competition.
MT –  We look at their run times and shave off milliseconds here and there.

NZ –  How long it would take before the MiEV Evolution beats Sebastian Loeb’s Peugeot 208 T16 time?
MT – Hopefully this year, but it might take a little longer.

NZ – How did you completely redesign the MiEV Evolution?
MT – Last year was our first experience, so we gathered data.  This year, we are targeting the win and developed accordingly with a lower center of gravity and half the height with batteries.  Electronics, such as yaw plays a huge part.  The front is torque operated, while the back is done through the brakes.

NZ – You chose Dunlop for tires?
MT – They are our commercial MiEV suppliers, which explains why last year we raced on their commercial tires.  This year’s regulations against slicks explains why we chose a more suitable Dunlop race tire with carved grooves.  We were surprised how the original tires reacted to a low center of gravity and high electric motor torque.  These tires can now handle that sort of performance.  See the video below on how you carve race tires on the go.

NZ – What needs to happen with EV racing?
MT – Weight and batteries need to develop faster.  For racing, the everyday common EV battery is more interesting, since it trickles down to production.

NZ – Any chance to see a MiEV Evolution?
MT – I don‘t know but that would be nice.

NZ – As far as the future of EV racing, wireless or battery change?
MT – Battery changes makes more sense, especially with endurance race.

I’m looking forward to seeing how well Mitsubishi does next year at Pikes Peak 2014.  The improved Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution should prove a worthy contender in a sea of growing electric vehicle prototypes.

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Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart