Mitsubishi Extends Production Halt on Outlander PHEV as Perplexing Battery Investigation Continues

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 9

Outlander PHEV in Blue

Outlander PHEV in Blue

Mitsubishi will extend its production halt and stop sale of its Outlander PHEV until it fully determines the cause of an overheating lithium-ion battery event that occurred in one of the PHEV Outlanders back on March 21 and a few other similar incidents involving battery pack issues in the plug-in crossover.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV's 12 kWh Lithium Battery, Made By GS Yuasa

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s 12 kWh Lithium Battery, Made By GS Yuasa

The automaker promptly stopped production and restricted sales of the Outlander PHEV in late March.

Batteries for the Outlander PHEV are supplied by Japan’s GS Yuasa.

Ryugo Nakao, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors, says there have been a few cases now where Outlander batteries short-circuited and excessive voltage was detected.  According to Nakao, a customer in Tokyo could not start the Outlander PHEV due to battery issues and a dealership in Japan reported that one of its plug-in crossovers would not charge properly.

And back on March 21, a completely assembled Outlander was being prepped for delivery.  After charging, an odor was observed..  Upon investigation, it was discovered that one of the battery cells overheated and was melting.

Mitsubishi Motors seems perplexed by the problem.  The automaker was initially investigating whether or not the battery packs had been dropped during processing or in transit.  It’s believed that if the pack was dropped, then excessive voltage could be the result.  However, Mitsubishi reports that it has still not found the case of these battery-related issues.

Therefore, the automaker will not resume production until it pinpoints the precise cause.

Mitsubishi hopes to resume production by the end of April, but the automaker will not move forward until the exact cause is determined, so this “end of April” target is only a guess at this point in time.

To date, Mitsubishi Motors sold over 4,000 Outlander PHEVs in Japan.  The automaker has more than 4,000 orders outstanding and intends to soon sell the plug-in crossover in Europe and the US.  These incidents, along with the production stoppage, will likely delay the Outlander PHEVs launch in both Europe and the US.

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9 responses to "Mitsubishi Extends Production Halt on Outlander PHEV as Perplexing Battery Investigation Continues"

  1. Gary H says:

    GS Yuasa sure sounds familiar.

  2. James says:

    Yuasa is also the maker of the infamous flaming Boeing 787 battery packs.

    Not sure if the chemistry is the same – but I wouldn’t be too anxious
    to trust a Yuasa pack in my BEV/PHEV would you?

    Now I know Yuasa is a longtime manufacturer of batteries of all kinds,
    just seems ironic ( suspicious? ) both troubled packs come out of
    the same company…..

    1. evnow says:

      Totally different chemistries. Boing essentially uses the same chemistry as Tesla – but without thermal conditioning.

      1. evnow says:

        May be I should say laptop – since Tesla no longer uses laptop chemistry.

  3. Jeff says:

    They have enough room to use nmh style??

  4. KenZ says:

    Damn. The Outlander 4WD was what I was going to buy.

  5. Seth says:

    According to Mitsubishi Netherlands, over 7000 PHEV’s have been sold in The Netherlands only (I bought 3 for my company). I have a clause that if they don’ t deliver in 2013 The sale will be canceled.( due to tax breaks that are only valid in 2013)

  6. Brian says:

    This is a shame. We really need a good option in this segment of the market. GM is getting a second chance to take it with a Voltec Equinox. Where are you?

  7. Jason says:

    IMHO, I believe the fix will be acceptable.
    Of course Mits is going to be highly paraniod since this package represents a breakthrough for them and the industry.

    Lithium is a good chemistry. I’m wondering if everyone seems to be pushing it to unsafe levels of use.

    My vote is still for the Outlander.