Mitsubishi
has found the cause of lithium-ion battery problems that caused the Japanese automaker to halt production on its Outlander Plug-in Hybrid in Japan last month.

The batteries, which are made by Lithium Energy Japan, are short circuiting from a screening process that infected the batteries with contaminants. That screening process has been discontinued. Lithium Energy's parent is a Mitsubishi joint-venture with GS Yuasa. That company makes batteries for the Boeing Dreamliner, which also had a number of fires recently. In the meantime, Mitsubishi has notified affected i drivers to stop driving the vehicles, while Outlander PHEV owners have been told to drive only in all-gas mode. Affected vehicles will be recalled next month and Mitsubishi is offering compensation and, if needed, loaner vehicles.

About 4,000 Outlander PHEVs, which went on sale in Japan in late January, and another 150 i all-electric vehicles (known as the i-MiEV overseas) had the problematic batteries, Automotive News reports. Mitsubishi plans to start selling the Outlander PHEV in the US next year.


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  • 27 Comments
      Peter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't know if this type of inside press makes American news, but battery fires remain that lingering doubt that risk slowing sales (of course gasoline is inert and those fires never happen). I hope this is not the case as a plugin SUV EREV (that you can buy at a reasonable cost) will do a good job of making EV's more mainstream.
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Im especially happy for the boeing dreamliner, i hope they fix this costly mistake. This has costed a lot of money to boeing.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        the boeing was an different issue and was fix long ago and is in test already.
        Levine Levine
        • 1 Year Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Stupid Boeing could have used a better but more expensive battery from another company, which is the current solution. Elon Musk was clairvoyant.
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Levine Levine
          Elon Musk is happy to see his face on TV every chance possible.
      Bryan Lund
      • 1 Year Ago
      Stupid Boeing could have used a better but more expensive battery from another company, which is the current solution. Elon Musk was clairvoyant. I wouldn't use the term "clairvoyant" but I would agree that Elon Musk would rather spend and make things right. You've gotta respect him for his hard efforts and real green victories going on here. Boeing, on the other hand, just cares about shareholder profit and is run by grey suited slow learning money grubbers. Who loves Starbuck's french roast and raspberry jelly donuts a bit more than they respect those that have worked very hard for them. Remember, at Boeing, you ARE just a number. Rock on Mitsubishi, you are my favorite carmaker and my 2008 Mitsusbishi Lancer GTS is still getting 30 mpg on the freeway and 24 mpg in the city. You've gotta love that bodystyle, too. Of all the cars on the face of the earth, be it German-made, American, Japanese or South Korean, the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is the car I want the most. And I have it. And it is good. Really, really good. I promise.
      Jazzor
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yay! Now hurry the hell up and bring it over, I need one of these!!!
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      ...yup, sounds like internal shorts.. ...yup, quality control is/was not catching it.. this is a common problem that has plagued lithium batteries for a long time. I hope their battery supplier figures out a way around it soon. There are many companies out there who have still not figured it out, who are giving lithium batteries a bad name by selling cells that aren't *all* 100% free of contaminants and construction errors. Just takes one badly made cell to cause a death metal pyrotechnics show.. we see this in the RC world all the time, where quality control is not so good. But some big battery makers are still occasionally shipping out potential firebombs. I think the industry will collectively figure this out in time, as some manufacturers already have. Good luck, Mitsubishi.
      Kei Jidosha
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very good news. Looking forward to the Outlander PHEV’s availability in the US. Still no competition on the horizon.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kei Jidosha
        VW Crossblue *might* be a possibility next year. "Although the company hasn't yet committed to producing the vehicle, dealers and industry experts do expect the crossover to enter the Volkswagen lineup sometime next year as a 2015 model."
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          The nearest car on the VW roadmap as a plug in hybrid is the Audi Q7: http://www.plugincars.com/vw-ev-chief-we-want-lead-electrification-125999.html The cost of that will be in a different league to this though.
      Vlad
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is something I don't get. GS Yuasa's batteries catch fire left and right - and they are still in business. A123's batteries perform well - they are bankrupt.
        KenZ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vlad
        Yes, but A123's batteries simply cost more per kWh. You want a car to drive the distance, and keep prices low, that becomes a problem. A123 was a perfectly stable (relatively) business concern when DeWalt dropped them for their Li-Ion power tool batteries a while back. Ask yourself: Why? Because.... cost per performance was not as good as non-A123 sources. But with that, you accept some greater risk in some areas. I'm not saying A123 didn't have a nice niche technology, but don't buy into all their marketing pitches.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vlad
        A123 did not have a parent like a big car manufacture, that is the mistake they made, they should have sold some shares to GM or Ford or Chysler.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vlad
        How many started on fire? How long has the I-mievs been out as a product, isn't it in like it's third year? I know they haven't sold many, but if they were to "catch on fire left and right", I think it would be more than just a recall after they had been in use for so long (years in some cases). Overall I think were making progress when it comes to our over the top sensationalism of relatively mundane issues. Initially we would hear that the batteries could explode, when in fact the only explosions I know of are the ones that occured at Sandia and GM labs where they intentionally abuse them to cause the explosions. Now, at least, we only say they caught on fire, which is to say they may have a short circuit, but significant flames may or may not be present. Maybe some day we'll collectively realise that battery cars are intrinsically safer than a car with a gas tank for a number of reasons. First, there is less flammable liquid, second, there is less potential energy overall, third, the battery pack structure additionally strengthens the frame of the vehicles, and fourth (this one is my opinion) EV drivers are more intelligent and thus better and safer drivers (OK, not really a property of the EV, but I think real). This is not to say there aren't issues to be resolved, but disliking them because they are less safe than gasoline cars is making a choice based on a false assumption.
          Vlad
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          Boeing?
          Mike
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          Only the 2013 iMiEV in Japan and the Outlander PHEV use this new battery that had the contamination issue. All other markets and prior model years use other batteries.
        Levine Levine
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vlad
        Deep pockets. Get it?
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I look forward to seeing the export versions of this vehicle, which should be a big winner for Mitsubishi. Getting the battery technology right was quite a set back, but fortunately the recall occurred when only a small number had been sold.
      strykerzzzz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good news. Now change the front end of the Outlander back to the Lancer jetfighter look for the American buyers!
      chanonissan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why did not Mitsubishi use a smaller engine to turn the generator, like the Chevrolet volt or the Infiniti prototype emerg-e, it would make more sense being, it would be more economical and less CO2
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chanonissan
        I suspect they don't have an ideal setup because it is far easier to stay as close as possible to the existing product. People forget Mitsubishi is a tiny, tiny car company. They are a niche maker that's barely surviving.
        Levine Levine
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chanonissan
        Because the type of customer who buys the SUV is a macho man wanting mucho horsepower.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chanonissan
        The layout is the one which makes most sense for this use. http://www.insideoutlander.com/model-overview The combination of ICE and electric motors gives great flexibility for torque and acceleration with the motors combined, retains all-EV range but best of all allows 4WD without the complexity of a transmission tunnel.
      CHAdeMO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great, I wish I'd get my Outlander PHEV in summer. BTW despite all of the hype we have had absolutely zero problems we i-MIEVs and we are watching quite a few. Go Mitsu, It's a great PHEV you have made wish you market luck.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is good news!
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