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Mitsubishi pickup goes green in Geneva

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A glimpse of the Mitsubishi pickup truck of the future.

The Concept GR-HEV merges sci-fi styling with a fuel-sipping diesel-hybrid powertrain. If you are among the sceptics who believe an electric-hybrid powertrain has no place in a rugged pickup, Mitsubishi hopes to prove you wrong.

Basically, it makes hybrid principles work in the one-tonne pickup market. And work it does; an ultra-frugal 2.5-litre diesel engine is paired with an electric motor, which drives an automatic gearbox. The motor is there to boost torque at low revs, critical for one-tonne payloads, consequently taking pressure off of the engine and improving fuel economy. The battery also supplies a finite range of pure EV driving. The GR-HEV is not a plug-in hybrid, as Mitsubishi believes tradesmen would balk at plugging the brute in at the work site.

Mitsubishi says CO2 emissions of “under 149g/km” are expected, about 50g/km lower than the next-best in this class, while the diesel engine is fully equipped with every particulate filter, NOx trap and other tailpipe-emission gadget required to be truly eco.

It is all clever stuff that illustrates a sensible way to hybridise pickups, and it should help the company meet its goal of selling one in every five cars equipped with some form of electric drive.

If you are looking at the images, though, you will have guessed what drew the Geneva crowds. This is a remarkable-looking double-cab pickup truck, all sinuous lines, that genuinely looks of this century. The GR-HEV may appear radical, but Mitsubishi is due to replace its truck chassis, so there is clearly some – if not outwardly acknowledged – production intent here.

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