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Next Mitsubishi ASX could go fully electric

Arrival of new electric concepts suggests Mitsubishi ASX is heading for an EV revival

24 Oct 2022


DESPITE being one of the oldest vehicles on sale, the Mitsubishi ASX still finds plenty of love from consumers as the brand’s third most-popular vehicle behind the Triton and Outlander – but a smaller, all-electric replacement looms on the horizon.


Time and market expectations will wait for no man – or SUV. A replacement for the ASX will someday come, with two potential candidates recently rising to the surface in the shape of Mitsubishi’s own XFC concept and the 4Ever Trophy concept from Mitsubishi’s alliance partner Renault.


So far this year the ASX has racked up nearly double the sales of its fresher-faced sibling, the Eclipse Cross. It is also the fourth most-popular small SUV in Australia, sitting just behind the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30 and MG ZS.


If either of its two potential replacements were to eventuate, it would mark a sizable shift for the ASX, moving it down from the small SUV segment where it presently sits, to the  light SUV category where it would battle rivals like the Toyota Yaris Cross, Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Venue and Kia Stonic.


A retrograde step? From some viewpoints perhaps, but it would enable two things for Mitsubishi; more room for the much newer Eclipse Cross to expand its range and price window, while introducing the possibility of an all-electric SUV successor to the pioneering iMiEV for the Japanese brand.


Speaking with GoAuto in Japan, Mitsubishi’s head of EV powertrain engineering Takashi Shirakawa said that while vehicles from the C segment and larger made more sense as plug-in hybrids from a CO2 reduction point of view (when taking total lifecycle emissions into account), vehicles in the B segment and below would deliver greater environmental benefits by going to full electric propulsion using present-day tech.


The logic is that B-segment vehicles are lighter, require less energy to be carried to achieve a useful range and use up fewer resources in their manufacture (and thus emit less CO2 during that phase).


Both the XFC Concept and 4Ever Trophy concept represent B-segment compact SUVs, and while the former will be offered with internal combustion power (and an eventual electrified powertrain), the latter will be strictly electric.


This opens up the potential for Mitsubishi to do as it has done with the Captur in Europe and rebadge the Renault 4 (which is the name the 4Ever Trophy will wear once it enters production) for the European market, allowing it to take advantage of that region’s low-CO2 energy infrastructure and cater to European demand for electric vehicles.


In parallel, the XFC would see service in other parts of the world where power generation is too dirty for an EV to make environmental sense, with a plug-in hybrid variant for markets that are somewhere in between – like Australia. 


Mr Shirakawa also mentioned that B-segment vehicles could even skip the PHEV stage altogether, their more compact packaging presenting challenges when attempting to cram a combustion engine, battery, electric motor and charging hardware together.

When unveiling the XFC Concept, Mitsubishi Motors president and CEO Takao Kato said that while the compact SUV would be initially offered in South East Asian markets, “we hope to grow the model from a vehicle for the ASEAN market to a global strategic vehicle”.

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