The next-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evo could use a plug-in hybrid system that is being shown at the Tokyo motor show, sources have told Autocar.

The plug-in technology is being showcased on the Mitsubishi PX-MiEV concept, and if applied to the Evo XI would dramatically alter its make-up.

See the full hi-res Mitsubishi PX-MiEV concept picture gallery

On the face of it, this concept is an upscale Outlander-based SUV designed to showcase the layout of Mitsubishi’s new plug-in hybrid system.

With the PX-MiEV, front and rear wheels are powered by two 81bhp permanent magnet synchronous motors. There’s also a 1.6-litre MIVEC petrol engine which not only drives the front wheels but also serves as a generator.

However, the system is configured around Mitsubishi’s Evo-style S-AWC handling control system, and automatically switches between different drive modes depending on driving style and remaining power in the lithium ion battery pack.

It’s a highly sophisticated switchable system that borrows i-MiEV electric car tech for the back wheels but uses a new parallel-type hybrid system for the fronts. It also delivers over 140mpg economy, Mitsubishi says.

Mitsubishi hopes to have it on the market by 2013, but company insiders say the technology could be directed at the new Evo.

At present, development work on the next Evo has effectively stalled, according to a source familiar with the programme, which explains why there has been no serious tweaking of the Evo X in Japan since its launch in 2007.

Instead, it is the Brits, with the outrageous FQ-series Lancer Evos that currently lead the Evo pack.

The PX-MiEV concept also suggests the way a more premium, Outlander-based SUV could go.

It has only two rows of seats and a high-grade interior and could conceivably be turned into a kind of Mitsubishi X5 rival, if management gives the green light.

Peter Nunn

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