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Mitsubishi weighs Evo hybrid

Automotive News reports on Mitsubishi's exploration of a hybrid version of its Evo rally car.

Automotive News
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
Mitsubishi's turbocharged all-wheel-drive Lancer Evolution may become an electric-gasoline hybrid with in-wheel motors. Mitsubishi

TOKYO--Mitsubishi is working on a green overhaul of its turbocharged all-wheel-drive Lancer Evolution so the gas-guzzling sedan won't go extinct.

The new vision for the performance car is an electric-gasoline hybrid with in-wheel motors, Mitsubishi Motors President Osamu Masuko says.

Mitsubishi wants to preserve the brand equity it has established for performance cars and all-wheel-drive vehicles.

But the Evo needs to be in step with the company's effort to rebrand itself as a global leader in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

"I don't think it's a good idea to introduce the next generation of Lancer Evolution that is similar to what we have today," Masuko said in a Nov. 1 interview.

"But if we think of hybrids with in-wheel electric motors, then there could be the possibility of a Lancer Evolution with an in-wheel motor," he said. "That's the image that I personally have."

Masuko said Mitsubishi developed a prototype Lancer Evolution electric vehicle with in-wheel motors in 2005. But the car was limited by the battery's charging time and driving range.

A plug-in hybrid version wouldn't face those restrictions, he said. And the in-wheel motors would be an ideal way to provide power to all four wheels. Mitsubishi is developing in-wheel motor technology, but it is not ready for market yet, Masuko said.

A new model is "not too long" in the future, he said. "I don't know if it's going to be a plug-in or a hybrid, but it's not too far in the future."

(Source: Automotive News)