There was much speculation earlier this year that Mitsubishi were going to drop the Evo from its range, leading to much angst amongst teenage boys with pizza faces. But we reckoned we would instead see the new Mitsubishi Evo XI arrive with a hybrid powerplant. And so it is.
From the mouth of Mitsubishi president, Osamu Masuko, comes news that the next generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo will ditch the regular 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit, which has become a mainstay of the 10 previous versions, in favour of a hybrid powertrain.
That, in itself, is not a surprise: an electric motor was more or less expected due to the tightening emissions regulation. The real shocker is that there’s a very good chance it won’t be a petrol-electric hybrid, but rather a diesel-electric hydrid. A diesel powered Evo XI? Where exactly is this world heading to?
The radical powertrain switch is being forced on Mitsubishi as the company needs to reduce CO2 emissions to less than 200 g/km, while still offering a sub-five seconds 0 – 100 km/h acceleration.
Masuko says has set specific targets and a quite tight timeline: “I have set the goal of developing a sporting car featuring electric power. We will start work on the project next year, and it will be ready within three”, he told British magazine Autocar.
In truth, we’d much rather have seen Mitsubishi go the plug-in petrol hybrid route and keep the emissions that matter – NOx and particulates – in check, rather than pandering to the pointless imperative to reduce CO2. But as a business case, the plan to endow the Mitsubishi Evo XI with a plug-in diesel hybrid is very sensible.