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Friday, January 15, 2010

Mitsubishi Evo XI to go Hybrid!

The Evolution XI will be built off the same platform as the PX-MiEV plug-in hybrid off-roader concept Mitsubishi revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show last October, the Evolution XI will benefit from the company's latest electric/hybrid technology. The new Evo's 2.0 litre MIVEC petrol engine, borrowed from the current Japan-spec Galant, will be mated to a new plug-in hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries. But here's the twist: the Evo's main power source will not be the gas engine, but an electric motor that will drive the front wheels. The 2.0 litre engine, when needed, will drive the rear wheels.

The Evo XI will give drivers the option of driving in EV mode, though only for short distances, improving fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. But it won't be a namby-pamby eco-warrior. According to our source, the electric motor will be an upgraded version of the 63 hp permanent magnet synchronous motor used in the i-MiEV, and the 2.0 litre MIVEC gas engine is expected to generate around 320 hp. Depending on how Mitsubishi manages the power flow between the two, the Evo XI could effectively have up to 350 hp on tap. The current Evo makes do with a mere 291 hp.

Mitsubishi engineers are working toward a target 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. "The new electric motor will effectively work like a turbo, only smoother," he says, "so there's no need to worry about power delivery."

What hardcore drivers will be more concerned about are the handling upgrades, which include a couple of hi-tech handling gizmos that were not finished in time for the Evo X, launched two-and-a-half years ago -- Active Steering and Roll Control Suspension. The Evo XI will also feature a new electronically-controlled active yaw control system (E-AYC) that regulates torque distribution between the rear wheels.

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