As the automotive industry makes its shift towards alternative fuel vehicles like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), many automakers are starting to make the shift towards green fuel. One automaker making recent strides in electric vehicles (EVs) is Mitsubishi Motors. Known for its fleet of SUVs primarily in the US, a pickup truck overseas, and its plug-in hybrid SUV, the Outlander PHEV, the automaker joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2017. Since then, the automaker has benefited from technology within, and two new green vehicles have already debuted overseas – a micro EV and a new plug-in hybrid SUV, AIRTEK.
The first new vehicle to debut from Mitsubishi was a joint-operation with Nissan. In 2020, Nissan announced a new EV platform that was flexible enough to work with a variety of vehicle types for each automaker in the Alliance – the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Since then, the Alliance held a digital conference to discuss future plans, starting with the release of vehicles by Mitsubishi Motors in one or more of its respective regions. The first may be its homeland of Japan.
Overseas in Japan, tiny cars known as “kei cars” make up 40-percent of all sales in the country. To join the competition, Mitsubishi and Nissan are releasing their own EV minicar in the Japan market sometime this year. Going for about $18,400 (estimate conversion), the vehicle is very affordable and can get consumers a lot of bang for their buck. Able to provide a driving range of over 124 miles, this could be the first vehicle to come from Mitsubishi to test the waters.
During the digital conference, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, a new strategy was introduced. Called “Follow the Leader”, one automaker would release a new vehicle, and if sales went well, the other automakers would release the same vehicle, but in their respective regions. The first vehicle set for release was being built by Mitsubishi, but there wasn’t much information aside from the vehicle being either in the C or D car segment, meaning a small or large car. Not much to go on, is it?
Some were hoping Mitsubishi Motors would go back to its roots and bring back the Lancer Evolution as an electric vehicle, but no such luck. Surely this minicar by Mitsubishi and Nissan doesn’t fit the bill, so where is this mystery vehicle? 2020 was a rocky time for automakers on a global scale after the COVID-19 pandemic first hit. Although the dust hasn’t quite settled, people are trying to get back to normal, as is the economy, and the industry. In April 2021, China held the 2021 Auto Shanghai Auto Show. During this event, Mitsubishi Motors introduced its newest vehicle, AIRTEK.
What is AIRTEK?
A GAC Mitsubishi Motors Co., Ltd. (GMMC) joint venture between Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC), Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, AIRTEK is a plug-in hybrid SUV from Mitsubishi Motors, if the teaser pictures are anything to go by. The automaker states in a press release that this new vehicle is based on three principles – it’s an all-electric vehicle, it provides luxury to the consumer, and is unique to the lineup as the brand moves forward into new territory.
That’s all we got. More information may be released, but like the kei cars in Japan, this AIRTEK vehicles will only be available in the Chinese market. However, assuming this is the C-D car Mitsubishi was working on, then we can assume a Nissan version will show up in the states if sales do well. Keep up with all news pertaining to Mitsubishi Motors when you follow us on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media.