Masuko hinted that the next-gen Colt small car is being developed as a global model and could be sold in the U.S. for the first time. Instead of going down the hybrid route, which most other carmakers are heading in, Mitsubishi will be focusing on launching new ultra-efficient diesels over the coming years, as well electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-ins.
Development of EVs is already underway and is a top priority at Mitsubishi, Masuko explained to reporters from Edmunds. “We'd like to boost the numbers of electric vehicles. The technology that goes into them could be adapted to developing a hybrid. We'd like to build an electric vehicle and have it lead to a plug-in hybrid,” he said.
The common stumbling block for all carmakers pursuing EVs is battery technology. To overcome this, Mitsubishi will form a joint venture with GS Yuasa Corporation to develop new batteries for an EV that’s near completion. “Since there's no big obstacle left in bringing it to the market, we're developing it with a view that first sales are in sight,” Masuko boasted.
Pictured above is the Mitsubishi i MiEV concept car that was rumored to enter production next year but is now slated for a 2010 launch.