Mitsubishi recalling i-MiEV, Outlander PHEV in Japan due to battery problems

Article by Anita Panait, on June 6, 2013

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is recalling its i-MiEV units in Japan due to a production glitch that caused one lithium ion battery pack to melt and another to catch fire in March 2013. The carmaker will recall over 4,000 vehicles with the potentially faulty batteries in Japan starting mid-July. Mitsubishi has sold a small number of affected i-MiEVs in Europe and the United States.

Also affected is Mitsubishi’s Outlander plug-in hybrid crossover sold only in Japan. The carmaker has stopped production and sales of the affected vehicles. According to Mitsubishi spokeswoman Namie Koketsu, they are preparing appropriate measures for markets outside Japan, which may mean a similar recall in the US.

The carmaker said in April it had contacted drivers in the US about the glitch. The carmaker has come up with a solution to the problem in May that could prevent the defects.Koketsu said the new process will produce replacement batteries for the cars being recalled.

Mitsubishi is planning to resume production of new i-MiEVs and Outlander plug-in hybrids by the end of August 2013, after fixing the recalled models. Mitsubishi’s battery supplier, Lithium Energy Japan, said there are two reasons why the batteries may short-circuit.

First is the inadvertent dropping of the batteries that could cause parts of the battery cells to break off and contaminate the cells. Second is the screening process that applied excessive force to the batteries, causing internal damage to the cells. Lithium Energy Japan has verified fixes for both problems in April.

With a length of 4,655 mm, the new generation of the Mitsubishi Outlander is just as large as its predecessor. Its design truly follows Mitsubishi’s language and it was created as an "engineer's car" with a "Solid - Safe - Simple" shape. With its actual looks previewed by the Concept PX-MiEV and Concept PX-MiEV II, the Mitsubishi Outlander boasts of a confident appearance laden with clean surfaces.

Judging from the appearance of the new Outlander, the new generation of the SUV properly conveys the protection and safety it affords to its occupants. This can well be seen on its raised beltline, high flanks, strong shouldering, uncluttered surfaces and soft-contoured fenders. As designed, the new Mitsubishi Outlander is a substantial vehicle marked by the absence of cheap decors and is suitable for long-distance journeys.

While the exterior of the new Mitsubishi Outlander could be described as understated, it is nonetheless assertive and aggressive. This is thanks to a number of cues like its slim aerodynamic grille with hockey-shaped chromed strips, seemingly shielding the brand’s three-diamond logo. This grille is flanked by cat-like wrap-around headlamps.

Inside, the new Mitsubishi Outlander makes use of high grade premium materials like soft-touch finishes, padded surfaces, gloss black appliqués and silver or wood accents. Moreover, the new Outlander now features dashboard which design allows the driver to better focus on the road. Likewise, the new Outlander features high-resolution instrument displays as well as ergonomic steering wheel controls.

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