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.

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