Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV production stopped due to battery fire

Last week was a rough one for Mitsubishi, because 2 of their electric vehicles had fires caused by their battery packs. The first fire occurred on March 18th at a Mitsubishi Factory in Japan. A Mitsubishi i-Miev battery pack overheated, resulting in a 98 minute fire that destroyed the vehicle but didn’t cause any injuries or building damage. Mitsubishi so far has said the incindent may have been caused by a change in manufacturing process of the battery supplier. So, Mitsubishi has halted production and is notifying owners of i-Miev electric vehicles that have the same battery packs manufactured under the same process.

Then 3 days later, at a Yokohama dealership, while attempting to fully charge an Outlander PHEV for the first time, 80 cells within the battery pack overheated, damaging one of the three blocks of cells in the battery and causing the plug-in hybrid to not be able to run. Mitsubishi has said the fire will not delay the launch of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the US, which is scheduled to go on sale in January of 2014.

So far, Mitsubishi has received overwhelming response and demand for it’s plug-in hybrid SUV. In Japan, over 10,000 Outlander PHEVs have been ordered, and in the Netherlands over 8,000 have been ordered. Mitsubishi is currently producing 500 per week. That means that at current rates, Mitsubishi has already sold all of the Outlander plug-in hybrids that it will make in 2013.

Due to the high number of responses, Mitsubishi has said the Outlander PHEV launch in Australia (and likely neighboring New Zealand) will be delayed approximately 8 months.

For the latest Outlander PHEV news, be sure to check out the forums at MyOutlanderPHEV.com

Outlander PHEV – More competition for the C-max Energi

As of January 2013, Mitsubishi has started selling the Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in Japan. It’s very similar to the C-max Energi. Both have an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that can drive the vehicles on pure electric power, and then can turn on the gasoline engine when the battery pack’s charge is depleted. They both use a 2.0 liter atkinson cycle engine as well.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a larger SUV with 4wd, where as the Ford C-max Energi is a crossover vehicle, slightly larger than a compact car with a more upright seating position.

Cargo space in the C-max Energi is limited because of the battery pack. In the Outlander Plug-in hybrid, they sacrificed the 2 small rear seats for the battery pack and rear electric motor, but they were able to keep the cargo floor flat and maintain all of the cargo space.

Here is a picture of the Outlander PHEV’s cargo space, as well as the hidden storage spot for the 120V charging cable:

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Storage

 

Fusion Energi vs C-max Energi

The Ford C-max Energi has really exploded since it’s October 2012 release. Not only did it outsell the Toyota Prius Plug-in in it’s first full month of sales, it also beat previous launch records for the Toyota Prius, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Camry Hybrid when they were first released!

The Fusion Energi is Ford’s second plug-in hybrid electric vehicle offering. The electric vehicle isn’t even available yet, but it’s already received a host of awards including the Green Car of the Year and the Connected Car of the Year. It has also received one of the highest EPA ratings of any plug-in hybrid vehicle – it’s rated at 108 MPGe in the city!

There are some skeptics that say the hybrid market can’t handle too many vehicle offerings, or that the target market is young hipsters who want a crossover type vehicle like the C-max Energi more than they want a family sedan like the Fusion Energi. Either way you slice it, the Fusion Energi is shaping up to be a market shaker.

Ford will be officially releasing some more details on the Fusion Energi at the upcoming North American International Auto Show later this month. To stay up to date on what’s happening with the Ford Fusion Energi, head over to the forum and say hello! I’ll see you there.

Fusion Energi design is inspired by European luxury

I came across an interesting post on the Fusion Energi Forum today that talks about how similar the 2013 Fusion is to some luxury European vehicles like Aston Martin.

One forum member said the Fusion Energi’s design reminded them of the Tesla Model S – and that makes sense. The Tesla Model S was designed by a designer that used to work for Aston Martin.

LA Times published an article talking about European Flair that the Fusion Energi has, and noted that the grill looks like an Aston Martin and the taillights look like a Jaguar from Gran Turismo.

Either way, the Fusion Energi is a beautiful family sedan considering the price point.

Tesla Model S

Tesla grill looks like Fusion Energi, or is it the other way around?!

Fusion Energi scheduling confusion

Originally Ford had said that scheduling for the 2013 Fusion Energi would begin December 12th, and production would start January 7th. However, since then, a Hertz website called Donlen is listing the Fusion Energi Scheduling to start December 20th, and production to start on January 21st 2013. What does this mean? Nothing – except that we have no idea what to believe.

The last press release from Ford in regards to the 2013 Fusion Energi (as listed on the fusion energi forum here) was in late November when Ford announced the Fusion Energi pricing would start at $39,945 before incentives. Since then, Ford has been keeping quiet – about specs, and about production schedules and dates.

When do you think the Ford Fusion Energi will be available?

[edit: today Ford released some news about the EPA rating of the Fusion Energi]

Ford C-max Energi goes 100km/h on battery power

Although some view the C-max Energi plug-in hybrid as a small minivan without the sliding doors, it’s hard to deny just how important this vehicle is for Ford. Ford has been second to Toyota for years in the hybrid world. Yes, Ford had the Focus Hybrid, but their Fusion Hybrid did so poorly they dropped it from production somewhere around 2005. Since then, Toyota has owned the hybrid car space with the Prius, and now the Prius C, Prius V, and Prius Plug-in hybrid.

Ford wanted some of the hybrid market share back, so it took the Global C platform vehicle, the C-max, that it was selling in Europe, and brought it to North America.

The C-max is a full hybrid line, just like the Prius – there is no non-hybrid version. There are, however, a few options of what type of hybrid you want. The C-max comes as a standard hybrid, and the Ford C-max Energi is the plug-in hybrid version.

The 2013 Ford C-max Energi SEL model costs $36,999 CAD. There are many ways that the C-max Energi specs beat the Prius specs, and here are some of them.

Top Speed
The Toyota Prius Plug-in top speed is limited to 100 km/h when using battery power alone, while the C-max Energi can go up to 135 km/h. When driving in combined mode, the Prius can reach a top speed of 180 km/h, while the C-max Energi maxes out at 164 km/h.

Range
The C-max Energi has a range of 885 km of combined range versus 870 km for the Prius Plug-in, and electric only range of 32 km – versus the 10 km of the Prius Plug-in. Charge time for the Ford C-max Energi is 7 hours on a standard 110 volt outlet, and 3 hours on a 220 volt plug.

Horsepower
The Toyota Prius plug-in is rated at 188 horsepower. The C-max Energi is slightly more powerful with 195 horsepower. Overall fuel economy for the C-max Energi is 1.9l/100km combined highway and city for gas and electric, or 4.5l/100km combined for gasoline only driving.

Warranty
Ford is offering a 20,000km 3 year warranty bumper to bumper warranty, and a 5 year/100,000 km drivetrain warranty on the C-max Energi. The electrical components are warrantied for 8 years/160,000kms.

Performance
At higher speeds, the ride is smooth, yet Ford has tuned road manners to feel quick and spirited, in sharp contrast to what Toyota has done with the floaty Prius plug-in. The C-Max Energi is almost entertaining, and at the very least balanced.

Not too shabby – I’m seriously thinking about getting one, or at least test driving one!

C-max Energi plug-in hybrid Maintenance Info

From the Owner’s Manual, Ford has some basic information on how to keep your C-max Energi performing well for years to come:

C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles are equipped with the
Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor (IOLM) system which shows a message in
the information display at the proper oil change service interval; this
interval may be up to two years or 20000 miles (32000 kilometers).
When ENGINE OIL CHANGE DUE or OIL CHANGE REQUIRED appears
in the information display, it’s time for an oil change; the oil change must
be done within two weeks or 500 miles (800 kilometers) of the ENGINE
OIL CHANGE DUE or OIL CHANGE REQUIRED message appearing. The
Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor must be reset after each oil change. See
Engine oil check in the Maintenance chapter.
If your information display is prematurely reset or becomes inoperative,
you should perform the oil change interval at six months or 5000 miles
(8000 kilometers) from your last oil change. Never exceed two years or
20000 miles (32000 kilometers) between oil change intervals.
Your vehicle is very sophisticated and built with multiple complex
performance systems. Every manufacturer develops these systems using
different specifications and performance features. That is why it is
important to rely upon your dealership to properly diagnose and repair
your vehicle.

 

Owner Checks and Services
Certain basic maintenance checks and inspections should be performed
every month or at six month intervals.
Check Every Month
Engine oil level.
Function of all interior and exterior lights.
Tires (including spare) for wear and proper pressure.
Windshield washer fluid level.
Check Every Six Months
Battery connections. Clean if necessary.
Body and door drain holes for obstructions. Clean if necessary.
Cooling system fluid level and coolant strength.
Door weatherstrips for wear. Lubricate if necessary.
Hinges, latches and outside locks for proper operation. Lubricate if
necessary.
Parking brake for proper operation.
Safety belts and seat latches for wear and function.
Safety warning lamps (brake, ABS, airbag, safety belt) for operation.
Washer spray and wiper operation. Clean or replace blades as
necessary.
Scheduled Maintenance 361
2013 C-

Economical Driving tips for the C-max Energi

Ford has released a list of tips and tricks for maximizing the fuel economy in your new C-max Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Here are the tips, in no particular order. Actually, it sounds like Ford is encouraging drivers to become hyper-milers!

• Accelerate and slow down in a smooth, moderate fashion.
• Drive at steady speeds.
• Anticipate stops; slowing down may eliminate the need to stop.
• Combine errands and minimize stop-and-go driving. (When running
errands, go to the furthest destination first and then work your way
back home.)
• Close the windows for high-speed driving.
• Drive at reasonable speeds. (Traveling at 65 miles per
hour/105 kilometers per hour uses about 15 percent less fuel than
traveling at 75 miles per hour/121 kilometers per hour).
• Keep the tires properly inflated and use only the recommended size.
• Use the recommended engine oil.
• Perform all regularly scheduled maintenance.

And here are a few tips of things to avoid that can drastically decrease your engine

• Avoid sudden or hard accelerations.
• Avoid revving the engine before turning off the car.
• Avoid long idle periods.
• Do not warm up your vehicle on cold mornings.
• Reduce the use of air conditioning and heat

C-max Energi Break In Procedure

As with all vehicles, there is a break-in procedure that should be followed to allow the engine and other vehicle components to become fully lubricated and wear into their places. This will not only improve performance and fuel economy, but will soften springs and create a better ride. All information was taken from the 2013 Ford C-max Energi owner’s manual found on the C-max Energi Forum

According to the 2013 Ford C-max Energi owner’s manual, the break-in procedure is as follows:

New tires need to break in for approximately 300 miles, and during this time the vehicle may exhibit some unusual driving characteristics such as less than normal traction, hard ride and perhaps some wobbling. The engine also needs to break in, so during the first 1000 miles, avoid hard accelerations and driving too fast (the manual leaves it up to us to determine what ‘too fast’ actually is though). It is also recommended to avoid carrying loads up steep grades – this would include towing, and perhaps even hauling 4 large adults up a steep highway section.

In order to allow for a break-in period for the vehicle, Ford does not allow new owners to create a vehicle health report on their C-max Energi until the odometer has reached 200 miles.

Ford also reminds owners not to measure fuel economy during the first 1000 miles (the break-in period for the C-max Energi) since a more accurate measurement is obtained after 2000-3000 miles.

Ford EV+ learns how to increase your efficiency

One special feature the Ford C-max Energi has over the Ford C-max Hybrid is it’s EV+ system. The patent-pending feature is available on Ford’s Fusion and C-Max hybrids as well as its C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids.

The EV+ software uses the vehicle’s GPS system to help it learn common routes and figure out ways to save fuel. Ford’s new feature combines the GPS data with certain algorithms to program powertrains to use its limited electric power most appropriately. For instance, the closer the vehicle is to a frequent destination, the more the vehicle is directed to operate in electric-only mode. In other words, if you’re about to arrive home and there’s juice in the pack, the car shifts into electric mode.

The C-Max gives up about 20 percent of its storage space (compared to the hybrid version) and the Focus Electric EV’s storage space is a whopping 40 percent less than the conventional Focus.