Mitsubishi previews new plug-in hybrid SUV for Tokyo show

Concept car is set to show a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain that Mitsubishi will use on the Eclipse Cross

Mitsubishi will reveal a new compact plug-in hybrid SUV concept at next month’s Tokyo motor show.

The as-yet-unnamed car, partially shown in an image and confirmed in limited information released today, is intended to preview Mitsubishi’s next-generation plug-in hybrid four-wheel-drive technology for models smaller than the Outlander.

The hybrid technology will be smaller and lighter than Mitsubishi’s current plug-in hybrid system, which it pioneered first on the Outlander PHEV. It will be four-wheel drive and is claimed to offer both improved efficiency in urban environments as well as greater control off road. 

Mitsubishi has not released any technical details of the new hybrid system, which will join the larger one it already has in its range on the Outlander. That current plug-in hybrid tech mixes a 2.4-litre petrol engine with a 13.8kWh battery and twin electric motors.

A replacement for the Outlander was previewed at the Geneva motor show in March with a concept called Engelberg Tourer that continued with a 2.4-litre petrol engine but now mated to a larger 20kWh battery. 

The concept car’s downsized plug-in hybrid technology could therefore be intended for the Eclipse Cross, either in this generation or the next. Mitsubishi sources confirmed to Autocar earlier this year that the Eclipse Cross would be offered with plug-in hybrid technology in the future.

The concept could also provide early clues to the Eclipse Cross’s distant successor, although the limited parts of the styling that can be seen in the preview image show a rather outlandish treatment for the rear of the roof. 

Mitsubishi sources also confirmed to Autocar that it would look to move its three SUV models – ASX, Eclipse Cross and Outlander – further apart in size. The ASX is set to be offered with an all-electric drivetrain in its next generation, rather than hybrid technology.

The 2019 Tokyo concept will follow a 2017 concept at the same show, called e-Evolution. The model offered visual clues to the next ASX, but more pertinently was an early indication of what the famous Evo could turn into – a high-performance electric compact SUV – should Mitsubishi decide to revive it early in the next decade as has long been expected

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Source: Autocar Online

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