Mitsubishi Lines Up Plug-In Hybrid, 500 HP Evolution Model

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2008 Mitsubishi Concept-RA

2008 Mitsubishi Concept-RA

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Electrically-powered vehicles that match regular combustion cars for performance are no longer a surprise, many of those barriers eroded thanks to companies like Tesla Motors.

Now it's the turn of the performance plug-in hybrid, with Mitsubishi's next Evolution model expected to deliver a 500-horsepower punch to match the high-tech Nissan GT-R.

Mitsubishi has built decades of heritage on performance variants of its humble Lancer sedan.

The Evolution badge first graced a Lancer in 1992, and in the intervening years Mitsubishi turned it into a championship-winning rally car and high-performance road car respected the world over.

The latest model has long expected to be a hybrid model, potentially even a diesel hybrid--but Autocar reports the car's technology may have stepped up another notch, allowing it to compete with Japan's fastest production road car, the Nissan GT-R.

That means an output of around 500 horsepower, with plug-in electric drivetrain technology inspired by the company's Pikes Peak MiEV Evolution challengers.

It may follow a tamer plug-in hybrid Lancer, said to use technology from the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid currently on sale in Japan. The Lancer plug-in hybrid could use a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and twin electric motor setup, with an all-electric range of around 40 miles.

While the Evolution may use elements of this plug-in drivetrain, the Evolution may well use a completely different body style, taking it away from the familiar sedan format. Styling could be more similar to 2008's Concept-RA, shown at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.

After several years in the doldrums, will high-performance models, plug-in hybrids and economical city cars like the Mirage be the cars to once again raise Mitsubishi's profile? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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