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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

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!

Green tech for EVs

“It is possible for householders to install green technology in their homes and to use that to fuel electric cars. Many electric car enthusiasts are already powering their wheels from solar panels on their homes. Renewable energy installation companies report that business is booming as more people decide to go down this route.

I believe that in ten years time, it will be absolutely commonplace for ordinary householders to recharge their electric cars overnight from renewable sources, such as wind, or solar energy.

The amazing thing about green electricity, is that it would be a free source of fuel, once the installations are paid for. There would be small ongoing maintenance costs, but nothing like what we are paying for fuel today.

If you are thinking of driving electric, then you are probably also thinking of trying to free yourself completely from ever-rising fuel costs in your home also.”

– Excerpt taken from ‘Cool Electric Car’