Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV - Click above for high-res image gallery
The Mitsubishi PX-MiEV, scheduled for an official debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this week, is jam packed with the best technology Mitsubishi has to offer. It's a series hybrid. It's a parallel hybrid. It has a 30 mile EV range. It will reportedly net 140 MPG. It has the same AWD system as the Lancer EVO X, enabling the crossover concept to switch modes based on how the 'ute is being driven. Why throw the technology sink at the PX-MiEV? Because it's a concept, of course, and concepts are supposed to be fanciful. But why the AWD?
For starters, AWD and hybrid tech don't usually mix, because driving all four wheels at the same time typically decreases fuel economy. So why add AWD to the PX-MiEV concept? The folks over at Autocar feel it could signal Mitsubishi's intent to offer plug-in tech in the Lancer Evolution XI. The Brits reportedly talked to Mitsubishi insiders who say the next-gen Evo could receive the plug-in tech showcased in the PX-MiEV.
While there's an up side to including plug-in tech on the next generation Evo, there are plenty of negatives as well. The high price point could better justify the added cost of hybrid tech, and the powertrain setup in the PX-MiEV, if fitted to the next Evo, would give torquetastic electric twist strictly to the rear wheels. Then there is the emissions issue, which would undoubtedly improve with a few battery packs equipped to Mitsubishi's road-going rally sedan.
Unfortunately, adding lithium battery packs and electric motors would also add significant weight to a vehicle that already tips the scales at over 3,500 pounds. Mitsubishi could shave some tonnage to offset some of the gains, but light weight materials would only add cost to an already pricey proposition. Mitsubishi is already having a bit of trouble trying to find enough customers to justify a $40,000 vehicle based off the spartan Lancer platform, so we're thinking that a plug-in Evo may not be such a great idea after all.