Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Lives; Next-Gen Model a Hybrid Diesel?!

Mitsubishi has laid out a path for itself over the next few years that is a lot different than its past strategy. In the United States and around the world, Mitsubishi has risked being pushed to the fringes. A lot of its vehicles are priced within the mainstream but sales have been down.

Mitsubishi is pushing forward full-speed with electric and hybrid vehicles. The results of the effort is the subcompact iMiEV, which is priced at $27,790 before government tax incentives. The car has a range of 85 miles and will be going on sale in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii starting next month. With a large part of its future around hybrids and electrics, where does the Lancer Evolution fit into all of this?

Some reports earlier this year said that Mitsubishi would axe the Evo because they felt its continuation would clash with the company’s new mission. Gayu Eusegi, Mitsubishi’s global product director, said as much: “There is still a demand, but we must stop…our influence now is EV technology.” Yikes. Fans were understandably incensed. Thankfully, Autocar reports today that an eleventh Evo is in fact coming, just one different than we have ever seen before.

The next-generation car will be paired with a hybrid drivetrain. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As is done in racing (Porsche knows a little something about this), hybrids can be tuned for performance, taking advantage of the torque offered by electric motors. There is more though; instead of a gas powered 2.0-liter turbo four, the Evo could switch that out for a diesel unit. Far fetched? The news comes right from the top, Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko.

As for a time frame, Masuko says three years: “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.” It will be interesting to see how it turns out, that’s for sure. Evo fans are hard to please though. We’re glad to see Mitsubishi not ditching performance altogether though. Long live the Evo!

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