Mitsubishi wants to dominate plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology between now and 2050, but it hasn’t committed to applying the technology to its next-generation ute.
Limited demand, combined with the challenge of adapting the plug-in hybrid technology from the Outlander family SUV to life in a ladder-frame ute, means Mitsubishi might not bother with a PHEV version of its upcoming Triton ute.
“Some of the fleet companies are requiring a pure-electric model for these kind of commercial vehicles. We understand there is a demand,” executive officer responsible for product at Mitsubishi Motors, Koichi Namiki, told Australian media.
“PHEV pickup trucks at this point in time, we don’t see a lot of demand,” he said.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles combine a smaller lithium-ion battery pack and electric motors with a petrol engine to offer a usable electric range, usually between 50km and 100km, along with the flexibility of being able to refuel at a regular petrol station.
Were it to develop a Triton PHEV, it would come after the aforementioned electric ute not due for reveal until after 2025.
Mitsubishi has previously confirmed it’s working on an electric ute of some form, although Namiki-san confirmed it may be a separate product to the Triton.
“We do have a plan to electrify the pickup truck in the future,” he said. “We are not sure if we call it Triton or not.”
Mitsubishi Australia has previously commented on how an electrified Triton would fit into how modern ute buyers use their vehicles, with head of product strategy Owen Thomson telling CarExpert in 2021 it “can work” depending on how the vehicle is being used.
“It’s clear that some time during this decade there’s going to be all forms of electrification of utes, it’s just a matter of what form that will take and when it happens,” Mr Thomson said in 2021.
“It’s been under consideration from day one in the Triton plan,” he added.
At launch, the new Triton will be powered by a “next generation diesel” engine.
The vehicle teased by the recent XRT concept has a tough front end with a version of the grille and headlight array that features on the current Outlander, while the bonnet and guards are swollen beneath that black camouflage.
Those oversized tyres and black wheels are a nod to the Triton AXCR racer. There’s a snorkel up front as well.