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Next-gen Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to go hybrid?

Mitsubishi is placing a new focus on green motoring, with that shift expected to carry over to the next-generation Lancer Evolution - the company's top performing model. The next-generation Evo XI will reportedly come packing a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

According to Motor Trend, Mitsubishi has decided to go green for its next-generation Evolution model. Set to be based on the same platform as the PX-MiEV plug-in hybrid concept, the Evolution XI will reportedly feature an electric motor derived from the i-MiEV and a high-output 2.0L MIVEC turbo four-cylinder.

Straying from the typical hybrid model, the Evo XI's electric motor will be used exclusively to drive the car's front wheels. When extra power is needed, the 2.0L gas engine - rumored to develop 320 horsepower - will fire up, providing propulsion to the vehicle's rear wheels. Under most driving conditions, the Evo XI will be an electrically driven front-driver.

Thanks to its plug-in drivetrain and lithium-ion batteries, the Evo XI will have an all-electric range of several miles, which should provide a significant boost to overall fuel economy.

Despite its green intentions, Mitsubishi engineers are still setting the bar high for the next Lancer Evolution. The Evo XI is expected to make the sprint from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, with the car's electric motor acting as a secondary -- and smoother -- turbo. And since electric motors make all their torque from 0 rpm, the Evo XI shouldn't experience any turbo lag.

Mitsubishi is working on a number of other technologies for the Evo XI - including Active Steering and Roll Control Suspension - pushing the car's launch date back a few years. Expect to see the Lancer Evolution XI in Mitsubishi showrooms sometime in 2013.