The Mitsubishi Evolution X is about the polar opposite of a hybrid car, but the rally car is about to gain some tree-hugging credentials: reports say that Mitsubishi has given the green light to a new Evo that uses a hybrid powertrain.
As Motor Trend had previously reported, the next Lancer Evolution will get some sort of powertrain to clean up its act (the current model gulps premium at a combined rate of 19 mpg, assuming you’re not cursed with a lead foot) and that new powertrain will probably pair a gas engine with an electric motor or two. Autocar says that Mitsubishi has confirmed those details, reporting that Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko says the new hybrid Evo will hit the streets within the next three years.
If the thought of an electrified Evolution makes you shudder, don’t worry: this still has the potential to be quite fun. Motor Trend says that the front wheels will be powered by a tweaked version of the 63hp electric motor in the Mitsubishi i -- which will be the vehicle’s primary motor for puttering around town -- but that the rear wheels will be driven by a combustion engine of some sort. Nail the throttle and the two will work simultaneously, delivering a total combined output of up to 350 horsepower. To put that into perspective, the current Evo makes do with just 291 horses.
The new Evo’s total output number depends, however, on which combustion engine Mitsubishi uses. The engine could be a revamped version of the 2.0-liter MIVEC turbo four-cylinder engine, but Autocar says the car could utilize a diesel powerplant in order to keep fuel consumption and emissions low.
While the prospect of a diesel hybrid Evo could spell sacrilege for the Evolution fanatics of the world, it could also mean a healthy amount of torque. Fans should also note that Motor Trend says the new Evo will still have a trick electronically controlled all-wheel drive system, and may even sport both active steering and active dampers--two technological innovations that weren’t completed in time for the current model.
In any event, the new Evo should arrive in showrooms within the next three years. Mitsubishi’s U.S. representatives have indicated the current Evo will be sold in our market through 2012 and most (if not all) of 2013.