Outlander Electric Hybrid US Launch Delayed Until 2015

shortage of lithium battery packs causes delay of Mitsubishi PHEV even as the company announces its plan to double production capacity.

Published: 02-Oct-2013

Mitsubishi confirmed yesterday that U.S. launch of its Outlander plug-in hybrid crossover SUV would be delayed until 2015, citing high demand for the car in its home market of Japan combined with a lack of battery supply.

The Japanese automaker’s plug-in fleet, which once held promise to become an industry leader, has been beset by manufacturing and sales woes. Despite launching months ago, production of the Japanese-market Outlander Plug-in Hybrid was halted earlier this year after several battery fires caused by cell contamination in the battery manufacturing process.

In August, Mitsubishi resumed production of the plug-in Outlander, as well as its all-electric city car, the i-MiEV, after the issue was identified and the battery manufacturing process modified to eliminate contamination. But the five-month halt in production created a backlog of more than 18,000 orders to fulfill in Japan. At the same time, the recall required replacement of battery packs in more than 4,400 Mitsubishi vehicles.

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