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Geneva 2013: Mitsubishi GR-HEV is a diesel-electric hybrid pickup truck

Mitsubishi GR-HEV concept front three quarterMitsubishi has already shown the CA-MiEV electric car at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, so for its second concept car it decided to go for something a little more rugged. The GR-HEV is a hybrid pickup truck with both a diesel engine and an electric motor providing power.

Details on the powertrain are scarce, but Mitsubishi says it went with a diesel-electric hybrid over an all-electric setup because the latter would have added too much weight.

Even with its diesel engine churning, the GR-HEV would be one of the most fuel efficient trucks on the road, because it would be the only hybrid truck short of General Motors’ monstrous Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Conventional wisdom says hybrids shouldn’t have diesel engines, but that is apparently changing. Mitsubishi’s old rival Subaru showed a diesel-electric crossover concept, the Viziv at Geneva.

The GR-HEV has the full-time Super Select four-wheel drive system from the Pajero (aka Montero) SUV, along with Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) traction control system.

Weirdly, that tech is paired with an old fashioned solid rear axle and leaf spring suspension. This is still the preferred setup for Ford and GM trucks, but it’s considered woefully outdated everywhere else.

Mitsubishi GR-HEV concept rear three quarterIn profile, the GR-HEV bears a passing resemblance to Mitsubishi’s L200 pickup, albeit with a bit more flare to attract non-commercial buyers. The front fascia looks like it was taken from a Nissan Murano.

Mitsubishi has become stagnant in recent years, but concepts like the GR-HEV and CA-MiEV point to a potentially revitalized automaker with green cars as its core products.

The GR-HEV in particular could appeal to a new segment of buyers that wouldn’t otherwise consider an EV or hybrid, assuming Mitsubishi can put it into production.