A pair of shadowy teaser images for a new Mitsubishi Airtrek model have been released this week, hinting at a return to the all-electric space the brand once pioneered.
The Japanese brand took on the world with its i-MiEV models in 2009, debuting as the world’s first mass-produced electric car – although other brands had played in the space earlier with low-volume offerings.
But, in the years since, Mitsubishi has focused its electrification efforts more on petrol-electric plug-in hybrids, in the form of the Outlander PHEV.
In 2019, Mitsubishi revealed the Mi-Tech (above), a beach-buggy-looking concept showcasing the brand’s boxy new design language and a powertrain that combined a gas-turbine engine/generator with a pair of electric motors – a unique take on the plug-in hybrid idea.
The Airtrek name is not new, either, having been worn by the first-generation Outlander in its home market before the more familiar global badge was adopted in Japan.
It appears clear from this week’s new teaser images that the Mi-Tech will inform the Airtrek’s styling, but Mitsubishi has confirmed we can expect a conventional pure-electric drivetrain.
Another thing we can expect, the brand has confirmed, is a sales program exclusive to the Chinese market.
"Designed exclusively for the Chinese market, the all-new Airtrek will be launched by the end of this year as the fourth model of Mitsubishi Motors’ lineup in China. With the addition of this electric vehicle, we aim to contribute to creating a sustainable mobility society,” the company said in a statement.
Outside of China, Mitsubishi is expected to continue prioritising PHEV models over pure-electric vehicles, although the latter is confirmed to represent part of the brand’s future plans – most likely in the form of a Nissan Ariya-based SUV.
Don't be surprised, either, if the new Airtrek is a hint at what we can expect from the next-generation ASX small SUV's design.
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