It seems every time the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV makes the news the information concerns a delay, and the reason always centers on its batteries. Four months ago the culprit was restricted battery supply from Lithium Energy Japan, pushing the arrival to 2015. This time it's no different, with Automotive News reporting that a battery-related request made by California state regulators will push the Outlander PHEV arrival back to "late 2015 or early 2016."

CA authorities want all plug-in hybrids to be fitted with a monitor for the lithium-ion batteries that will be on the lookout for degradation, the concern being that diminished batteries could change the vehicle's emissions. Getting the technology fitted and tested means something like a 16- to 22-month delay.

The extra time, however, should let Mitsubishi figure out what it's going to do about its battery supply since the current level of 4,000 per month isn't enough to support a US launch; the Automotive News article says Mitsubishi expects a volume of 63,000 plug-ins for 2016. The company hasn't said how it plans to make up the balance.

We were curious to know if the new battery monitoring requirement made sense to people who have a lot of history with EVs. Tom Saxton, the chief science officer at Plug In America, told us that it does. "As an EV owner and someone interested in better understanding battery pack longevity, I think all plug-in vehicles should have clear instrumentation showing the driver the battery pack's current usable capacity either in kilowatt-hours or equivalent (preferred) or amp-hours (acceptable)," he told Autoblog. "This is different from the state-of-charge, which is the energy currently stored in the pack."

Saxton also said that he agrees with CARB's concern that a loss of capacity could impact emissions. "If a plug-in hybrid battery pack loses usable capacity, then the driver will get fewer electric miles per charge," he said. "For drives that exceed the reduced electric-range of the vehicle, more emissions will result. That same is true of a conventional (non plug-in) hybrid."


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  • 17 Comments
      GR
      • 7 Months Ago
      Despite the ridicule some Americans have for it, this car is actually critically acclaimed in the places it's already sold. It won some awards in Japan and is said to be selling well in places like Norway where they are more EV and PHEV conscious. I think that Americans simply assume any Mitsubishi must be crap or irrelevant because of how poorly they are doing overall. I agree that the line-up is old and lacking, but it's not like Mitsu is incapable of offering good, innovative products. Also, the battery supply issue stems for their supplier who is a company under the Mitsubishi Corp umbrella. They basically have only one source they are considering so this would obviously hamper supply. I'm no Mitsubishi fanboy, but I'd like to see these on sale in the US as soon as possible. After all, how many other PHEV 4x4 SUVs are on sale in the US? Right, none.
      Ben Crockett
      • 7 Months Ago
      I pick up mine up today - in Australia and looking forward to owing my first EV. I am not surprised by the delay but surprised but the length if it - I have read they are having supply issues with the battery pack and even the Australian head said he thought they may need to divert iMiev packs to the Outlander PHEV. It has so far been well received in Australia by the journalists in our SUV loving country getting 4 + stars out of 5. At my non-metro dealership alone they had sold 8 including 2 to a doctor - which may not sound like much but for a country with no incentives or EV charge infrastructure and little awareness and for only ~ hundred or so overall EV sales ever I think it is impressive. I wish the vehicle well and trust they will fix the current supply issues.
        Marco Polo
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Ben Crockett
        @ Ben Crockett Well done Ben, congratulations on your purchase.
      tenspeeder
      • 7 Months Ago
      So the US will just have to wait longer to ignore it. Okay.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @tenspeeder
        Actually, whoever ships the first SUV PHEV will probably find a receptive audience.
          jonwil2002
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Assuming it doesn't sacrifice power, interior space etc compared to the regular Outlander, it should do well with those who want all the perceived advantages of an SUV (interior space, higher driving position) but don't want the poor fuel economy (or the gas-guzzler tax if you are in an area where such a thing exists)
        ACURA23CL
        • 7 Months Ago
        @tenspeeder
        Haha...you have WON this article.
      KaiserWilhelm
      • 7 Months Ago
      The 4 people that care are devastated.
      m_2012
      • 7 Months Ago
      Wait, so they expect to sell 63,000 of these in a year? When is the last time Mitsu sold 60K vehicles, let alone a compliance car?
        Actionable Mango
        • 7 Months Ago
        @m_2012
        I have no idea how many they sell, but this is not a compliance car. It is sold as a normal vehicle in many markets outside of the US already, and its actually been a runaway success for them with sales are exceeding expectations.
      GCornwallis
      • 7 Months Ago
      I take it that this monitor will require the battery be replaced more frequently, thus create more toxic waste faster. Seems like the small amount of extraneous carbon output would be less damaging.
        Spiffster
        • 7 Months Ago
        @GCornwallis
        Wrong on both points. Seems there are still widespread misconceptions about battery life and Li-ion battery toxicity... so dont worry, you're not the only one who has somehow been misinformed.
        JakeY
        • 7 Months Ago
        @GCornwallis
        No, it simply lets you know how well your battery is doing. IMO, all plug-ins should have it. At the very least it help when buying a used EV. As for the battery, in the case of "end of life" it would get reused (for grid storage) and then recycled afterwards. Li-ion batteries are also non-toxic. You are thinking of lead acid batteries in typical cars (which are toxic, but also recycled).
      johnnythemoney
      • 7 Months Ago
      This car has been in the making for the past three centuries by now, and by the time it will be available people won't even remember what Mitsubishi is, or was. They really need to get their act together if they want to stay around in the States and Europe too.
      Cavaron
      • 7 Months Ago
      Seems to be delay-time for EV SUVs. At least Tesla Model X is not alone and will still come (a lot) earlier than the Outland (which is a PHEV and not that easy to compare to a BEV like Model X, I know).
      icemilkcoffee
      • 7 Months Ago
      4000 a month is not enough to support a US launch? Who are they kidding? Even Toyota couldn't sell more than 2000 Plug-in Prius'es per month in the US. Mitsubishi would be lucky to even sell 500 a month.
      jeffmorse7
      • 7 Months Ago
      Kind of irritating that one state's regulations can hold up sales for the entire country (and I live in that state).
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