What's the deal with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution? Does the car have a future at all as its brand continues to flag hard in the North American market? One new rumor says it does — in plug-in electric hybrid form. For real this time.
I say "this time," because the Evo has been rumored to be going hybrid in its next iteration for years now. We first heard about it way back in early 2010. Of course, high-performance hybrid technology has advanced in quantum leaps since then, so it's a bit more feasible in 2013.
The new rumor, reported by the UK's Autocar and citing supposedly "highly placed Mitsubishi executives," is that the next Evo will be a plug-in all-wheel drive hybrid that draws technology from the electric MiEV Evolution II race cars used recently at Pikes Peak. If this is to be believed, it will have 500 horsepower, rival the Nissan GT-R, and go 40 miles solely on electric power.
But this isn't the first time the Evo itself has been subject to wild and crazy rumors. Remember, word on the street for a couple years was that the next Evo would be a diesel-electric hybrid.
I always assumed that claim was rattled off at a party by an extremely intoxicated and bitter Mitsubishi employee as sarcasm — right before he collapsed under the weight of too many shots and his own failed dreams — and some intern at Car & Track or MotorBalls or whatever who happened to be nearby dutifully jotted it down as gospel.
"Sure, kid," he must have said, staggering as he wiped the tequila from his mouth. "Ish gonna be a fucking diesel hybrid! Whatever you want!" Something like that.
Who reported that originally, anyway? Oh yeah. Autocar.
So we have a lot of reasons to be skeptical about this one. Given the brand's faltering sales in the U.S., some doubt has emerged as to whether they will stick around in the North American market beyond 2013.
Their current lineup consists of the aging Lancer, the so-old-it-can-practically-buy-cigarettes Galant, the electric i-MiEV, a pair of SUVs that really aren't bad at all, the Evo, and the upcoming Mirage. The brand's health in the U.S. has a lot of people concerned.
Maybe the question shouldn't be, "Will the Evo go hybrid?", but rather, "Will we get the next Evo?"
Photo credit Mitsubishi/Shutterstock