Not so long ago the idea of a hybrid powertrain in a sports car was anathema to enthusiasts. But after this year's Formula 1 season, the debut of cars like the Tesla Roadster and Audi's all-electric R8 e-Tron at Frankfurt and the wider acceptance of hybrids in general by the buying public, it's not so unimaginable anymore. It's also at least a real possibility for the next-generation of one of the biggest performance bargains of the decade--the Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer.

Mitsubishi is set to unveil a new proprietary plug-in hybrid system in the Concept PX MiEV (pictured) at this month’s 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. The new system combines differential electric motors with Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system--already found in the Evo--and electronically controlled active yaw control. The front and rear wheels are powered by two permanent magnet synchronous motors, while a compact four-cylinder MIVEC engine is also used to power the front wheels or act as a generator.

According to latest reports, a similar system could be used in the next-generation Lancer Evolution XI (Evo XI for short). The first production models equipped with the advanced plug-in hybrid system is due in 2013 and company insiders say the technology could be directed at the new Evo eventually.

However, due to financial constraints, development on the next-generation Evo has been stalled so any launch of a plug-in hybrid Evo is still years away.