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Speaking to Australian media at the reveal of the new-generation Triton in Thailand, Mitsubishi's executives revealed the upgraded 2.4-litre bi-turbo diesel engine is only the first powertrain option in the new Triton.
Those who were looking forward to a bigger engine, or a hybrid option, will be pleased to know that these options are being considered and have even made it to the late stages of development.
"At this moment, we're starting with the 2.4," said Yoshiki Masuda, Triton Product Chief. "Of course, we are considering bigger and more powerful. We have to think about efficiency, [regulations], and these kinds of things, so we haven't decided yet."
But he wouldn't rule out a bigger engine like a V6, saying it was possible for the new wider Triton platform to accommodate such an engine.
"It depends on the V6," Masuda said. "We increased the track including the distance of the ladder frame and also the axle mass capacity is significant, so it should be compatible with a bigger engine."
"It's not just the spec itself, but the character of the torque. I think we're very confident [with 2.4-litre's] 470Nm. Maybe later in the life cycle we can think of increasing torque."
But Masuda confirmed a V6 hadn't yet been tested, nor had a larger four-cylinder diesel engine option been considered, like the 3.0-litre engine from the Mitsubishi Canter light truck which would give Mitsubishi a similar engine to the one found in the Isuzu D-Max.
The brand's top brass had more to say on the topic of electrification, with CEO Takao Kato saying: "In the future, a BEV [battery electric] is required for the pickup truck" in order for the company to meet its CO2 goals.
"The question is timing. When should we do this? Before BEV we need to also consider other types of electrified vehicle such as hybrid or PHEV," he continued.
On the topic of whether there would ever be a fully electric car with a Triton badge, Hiroshi Nagaoka, Mitsubishi's engineering cheif said: "Technically speaking, if we put a battery in the current platform, it will not be enough."
"In the future, we have to modify at least the frame of the platform. Even in that case we want to try to carry over some parts from the current Triton, then we can modify it to carry the battery. The answer is yes and no - yes, we will modify the current platform, but no, we [can't do it immediately]."
"Also, we are considering another electrification - in the short term [plugless hybrid] could be a very good solution for our CO2 reduction, so we are actually studying both, battery electric and hybrid electric.
"We are at an advanced stage of that engineering development. We haven't decided yet which we will accelerate, but we are considering both. As you mentioned, our competitors are doing the same in the future, so we need to consider that, at least we will catch up, or even be ahead.
"For PHEV we have to consider both the battery and the gasoline tank - for a heavy vehicle we have to put a lot of batteries and it is very difficult to fit with the gasoline tank. But if we have a more efficient battery then we can put that with a plug-in hybrid, and that might be even better than a battery electric, we think.
"Most likely we will go first with the HEV [plugless hybrid], after that, considering battery improvements, we will go PHEV or BEV."
The executives also confirmed the HEV system is a Mitsubishi development, and not the e-Power system sourced from its Nissan alliance partner.
"E-Power, as you know, is primarily an electric vehicle. It has no gear for connecting the engine to the wheels which is a problem for bigger cars. For small cars, that's fine, it's a great solution," explained Nagaoka.
In summary then, Mitsubishi's executives explained that a V6 was possible, a larger diesel four-cylinder hadn't been considered and a hybrid Triton was in an advanced stage of development. It's looking most likely the brand will go first with a plugless hybrid system of its own design for the Triton, something to look forward to after the ute's initial February 2024 launch.