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Mitsubishi Triton to go plug-in hybrid

The recently-revealed Triton is conventionally powerered, however a plug-in hybrid powertrain is on the horizon.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has revealed that its Triton pick-up may soon utilise plug-in hybrid technologies to compensate for the ever-tightening emissions regulations.

According to Mitsubishi Motors Corporation corporate vice-president of strategy Vincent Cobee, an electrified powertrain is inevitable for its light-commercial vehicle line-up.

“What is very interesting, if you look at the pick-up market in particular, is that you have the extremely hardcore, very professional use, low-regulation markets, which represents more than half of the volume – we're talking here a regulation environment between Euro 2 and Euro 4, moving to Euro 5,” he said.

“And then at the other end of the spectrum, you have much more of a passenger car orientated pick-up market of Western Europe, which is currently in Euro 6 and expected to move to Euro 7.

“We need to deal with low running costs, extremely durable, hardcore tools in low regulatory environments and we need to anticipate an extremely challenging emissions regulations environment in Europe.

“I think if you forward think into the European environment, 2025 will be a very tough milestone to pass, in other words, we can foresee in a number of countries that the passenger car use of the pick-up will move into the passenger car taxation system, and we can also foresee that Euro 7 is going to be a tough one.”

Mitsubishi launched the Triton in fifth-generation form in 2014, and has recently been updated with a modernised exterior design and increased equipment levels.

Given the standard lifecycle of dual-cab utes, the hybrid system could make its way into the next-generation Triton model.

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) motor in the Mitsubishi Outlander medium SUV, which will soon be updated to allow for around 100 kilometres of emissions-free driving range, is the only system in Mitsubishi's current artillery that would suit the Triton's requirements.

“Today the pickup market is mostly driven by performance, durability, cost of ownership, and toughness, and the answer today is a frame base, and diesel,” he said.

“The PHEV tech today has not reached sufficient level of cost performance or durability demonstration to be an easy installation.

“The guess you’re making (plug-in hybrid Triton) may become a reality by about 2025, which means one way or another we are going to have to electrify those vehicles, because there will be a limit on what conventional combustion engines can provide, because the demand for power, torque, towing will remain.

“We can easily convince ourselves that there might be innovations to be done to bring a form of electrification that brings toughness, reliability and no range anxiety. I think it will migrate towards heavy and tougher vehicles.

“Just to be clear; towing, load, maintenance, PHEV can achieve it all, we just need to spend enough.”

Would you like to see hybrid technology make its way into the ute market? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.