Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Mitsubishi Triton to go electric before 2030, affordable price targeted for EV ute

Daniel Gardner

Rally inspired Triton to follow sixth-gen model reveal later this year, electric will come late in the decade

Mitsubishi’s popular Triton will take on ute segment champions Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux with an electric version rolling out before the end of the decade. 

Sooner, though, a high-performance Ralliart range-topper is being readied to do battle with respective Ranger Wildtrak X and Hilux GR Sport variants.

Mitsubishi’s new-generation Triton is expected to go fully electric before 2030

In March this year, the company released a forecast for its family of vehicles to be run out over the next five years, including a ‘Pickup BEV’. Further, other official Mitsubishi communications channels have confirmed a return of the Ralliart brand.

However, Mitsubishi’s executive team has now revealed more strategic details and the Triton is at the forefront of both company missions.

A veiled ute is the only image of a potential forthcoming electric pickup that Mitsubishi has yet offered but, when asked if the mysterious model was a Triton, Mitsubishi product strategy executive officer Koichi Namiki replied “You can consider this is a version of Triton”.

Mitsubishi previously released this concept foreshadowing what the new-generation Triton could look like

But Namiki would not confirm if the model, while fulfilling the duties of a Triton, will necessarily wear the popular nameplate.

“We do have a plan to electrify the pick-up truck in the future. We are not sure if we will call it Triton or not,” he said.

However, while some are predicting the battery-powered ute will arrive soon after the sixth-generation Triton range introduction, ongoing technical challenges mean an electric ute is more likely toward the back end of the decade, says Mitsubishi.

Powertrain engineering division general manager Akashi Shirakawa confirmed an electric ute “is under development,” but his team has already produced two generations of a battery powertrain that is not yet suitable to go into production.

It remains unclear if the electric ute will be badged as a Triton

“We’ve tried several times and we are still not satisfied. We are now developing this [though] maybe this is the third generation,” he said.

Shirakawa explained that the problems are related to the technical challenges posed by large vehicles as well as the associated cost.

“Like American full-size pick-ups with skateboard structure, we can do it, but … the body shape is heavier and bigger vehicles have a huge penalty coming from the weight,” he said. 

“Basically, the battery way is not good for bigger vehicles.

“In the United States, Ford F150 is highly appreciated [and with] no compromise but their price is very high. We cannot price our product like Ford. That’s why we are now struggling even though we have some technology, but it is not time to launch the product.”

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Aspire LT 2022 badge
A plug-in hybrid version of the Triton seems increasingly unlikely

Don’t expect a Triton to do battle with the LDV eT60 until the team can produce a production version with a retail price that aligns with Mitsubishi’s brand and customer expectations. Expect that to be later in the decade.

Despite the difficulties and the company’s focus on plug-in hybrid vehicles, Namiki said there was more potential for a pure electric ute. And that Mitsubishi was not planning to fill a gap between diesel and electric versions with a PHEV.

“In Australia too, some of the fleet companies (are) requiring pure electric models and commercial vehicles. We understand that there is a demand.

“A PHEV pick-up truck at this point? We don’t see a lot of demand.”

The resurrection of Ralliart with Triton

More likely before the electric Triton, however, is a toughened Ralliart version with plans to resurrect the coveted brand almost certain to include a Triton version as part of the reintroduction.

Mitsubishi Team boss Hiroshi Masuoka told Chasing Cars that it was his expectation the Ralliart brand would be applied to all “representative” models including the Triton. And that the Asia Cross Country Rally-winning Triton AXCR would pioneer features seen in a production Ralliart version.

Mitsubishi is expected to produce a Ralliart version of the Triton

“The important point is, to make it to the goal in any conditions so we focused on the suspension, differentials and engine torque. We’ll also focus on how comfortable it is to drive,” Masuoka said.

“We have to get to the finish but it’s a production car class and it proves the road car capability. You take the winning car, learn from that and put it into the next generation.”

Race car features that could form the basis of a Triton Ralliart include toughened suspension and brakes, a retuned engine, high-flow exhaust, trick diffs, and unique wheels and tyres.

While the company is still finalising exactly how it will roll out the revenant Ralliart badge, global marketing and sales executive officer John Signoriello said the company was taking any Ralliart vehicle, including the Triton, very seriously.

“We have to be realistic. Performance is powertrain but it’s also other things as well. This is about a complete package and there’s no doubt we need to do it properly,” Signoriello said. 

“Ralliart is a very proud name and we need to do it justice.”

Either way, a very different and evolved Triton will follow the more traditional diesel varieties that are expected to herald the new model later this year. When asked why Mitsubishi regards an involvement in motorsport to be important, Masuoka simply replied “To make a good car”.