Iconic Evo sedan will get a high performance SUV replacement that incorporates hybrid technology found in the Mitsubishi Evolution III Pikes Peak Hill Climber
11/3/14 4:00 am chumakdenis 1
We must all admit that Mitsubishi Evo is dead as a sports saloon.Even company chiefs have confirmed it to us, but luckily, its spirit will live on as a high-peformance hybrid SUV.
A short video memorial for Mitsubishi Evo X
Once the Japanese manufacturer’s most iconic model, the Evo and its future have been the subject of much internal debate for a number of years, with Mitsubishi putting a greater emphasis on hybrid vehicles.
Speaking at the 2014 Paris motor show, Mitsubishi product boss Kanenori Okamoto confirmed that an Evo XI was not part of the brand’s future plans.
“It will not exist as we know it,” he said. “It will be replaced in spirit by an SUV with high performance.”
Okamoto explained that the company has yet to decide which the new rapid SUV would be based upon, although it will include technology inspired by Mitsubishi’s electric Pikes Peak hillclimb racer, know as MiEV Evolution.
Indeed, lessons learned in the packaging of the competition car could prove useful; an Evo-inspired hybrid SUV would require a large battery and high-output electric motor to produce performance car characteristics.
It will make use of the latest evolution of the Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) four-wheel-drive system originally developed for the Evo X and also integrated into the MiEV Evolution.
Okamoto added that components and control systems pioneered in the new high-performance SUV would trickle down into other future Mitsubishi road cars. He also said that the project would benefit and inspire the younger breed of engineers within the company.
Car enthusiasts hold the Evo in high regard, notably because of its success in rallying, but there are no plans to take the SUV into motorsport.
However, Mitsubishi boss Lance Bradley was confident that green technology could excite on the road: “Green is still fun to drive. It’s a challenge to make it fun, but not a particularly difficult one. Electric vehicle performance is very good.”
Mitsubishi's entire range over the next five years will grow to include an electric or plug-in hybrid electric version, according to Bradley. Next year the firm will launch a new pick-up truck and in 2016 will launch a second generation version of the ASX crossover.
The company has been buoyed by the success of the Outlander PHEV, a driving force behind the firm's EU sales being up 93 per cent year-on-year so far, on top of 50 per cent growth in 2013.
This has been important, says Bradley, because the firm's future product plan is banking on the plug-in hybrid electric technology being a success.
"As new products are introduced, they will all get the new technology," he said. "Our technology is scalable. The ASX will be the next to get it in a different version, likely with a single electric motor and two-wheel drive. It won't have a shorter driving range, though, because battery technology is improving all the time."
The new ASX will be inspired by the design of a concept car from the Tokyo motor show, said Bradley.