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With Battery Issues Solved, Mitsubishi Doubles Production Of Outlander PHEV To Satisfy Demand

4 years ago by Jay Cole 14

This Mitsubishi-Produced Outlander PHEV Production Slide Pretty Much Tells The Story We Want To Hear

This Mitsubishi-Produced Outlander PHEV Production Slide Pretty Much Tells The Story We Want To Hear

 

The Outlander PHEV from Mitsubishi has had a somewhat troubled debut, as the first 4,305 plug-in hybrids were recalled shortly after the vehicles release for a battery issue (think fire), as well as a separate recall of some 3,800 units for faulty control software controlling the motor drives.

Mtisubishi Outlander PHEV Production Resumes This Month

Mtisubishi Outlander PHEV Production Resumes This Month

Mitsubishi says those battery issues have now been put to bed, and the company can get back to the business of building electric vehicles. 

Apparently the final word on the battery issue was that cells were dropped on the ground during the assembly process by plant workers, and subsequent tests on those damaged cells (that were not installed into cars), overheated when charged.

However, because the Outlander’s PHEV package is unlike anything else currently available on the worldwide market today, namely a 25 mile extended range (EPA estimate), 4WD SUV for around an equivalent of just under $40,000 USD….people want it regardless of the vehicle’s bumpy introduction.

And they want it bad.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV's 12 kWh Lithium Battery...Which Apparently Don't Much Care For Being Dropped On The Ground Before Installation

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s 12 kWh Lithium Battery…Which Don’t Much Care For Being Dropped On The Ground Before Installation

Although production resumes shortly this month at Mitsubishi’s factory in Japan, the company can only build up to 2,000 extended-range Outlanders per month at the facility.

And while the assembly line has been shuttered to get to the root of the battery overheat issues, demand (and back-orders) have only grown.

At last count, it is estimated that Mitsubishi has a backlog of about 15,000 Outlander PHEVs to build, and with the vehicle still to be rolled out in many more countries, something had to be done by the Japanese company in order to fill these orders.   And it has.

While announcing their most recent full-year (2012) earnings in Tokyo late last month, Mitsubishi says that it will “consolidate the processes for installing PHEV batteries and motors from (the) subassembly line to the main assembly line,” while increasing production capability of the Nagoya plant from 2,000 units a month to 4,000 per month, starting with the 2014 model year Outlander from September 2013.

We are fairly certain that anxious US customers are thankful to Mitsubishi for adding capacity, and for not making them wait an extra year in order to receive an Outlander PHEV of their own.   UPDATE:  Despite the production upgrade, the Outlander PHEV is still not expected in the US until early 2015.

Maybe Mitsu did learn something from the i-MiEV after all…build ’em when they want ’em

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14 responses to "With Battery Issues Solved, Mitsubishi Doubles Production Of Outlander PHEV To Satisfy Demand"

  1. zilm says:

    Great news! GS-Yuasa have second big issue with their batteries. Hope they will not sink to the bottom their contractor like A123 with Fisker did.
    The only thing you should study from i-MiEV – don’t build such ugly cars!

    1. Aaron says:

      Ahem.

      1. zilm says:

        Oh, not the white one, of course!

  2. Josh says:

    Hopefully the demand is still there after the battery issues. This vehicle could be very successful in the US, despite Mitsubishi’s falling reputation over here and the total flop of the i-MiEV.

    If it does sell appreciable numbers (10k+/year) over here, I would expect a wave of similar format vehicles to follow, just like all the hybrids w/ plugs that followed the Volt. The most formidable competitor would be the VoltecUV that GM refuses to get moving.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Yes Josh,
      GM really is getting blown in the weeds by other manufacturers in the hybrid market (including all plug ins). We saw in an article here the other day that they only sold 4000 total last month while Ford sold 8000. This is because e-assist is a big loser. Ford on the other hand has rights to produce HSD transmission and is doing quite well with it. GM has a huge hole in their product line but as you say they refuse to expand Voltec. GM needs to do SOMETHING. It is obvious that their current strategy isn’t working.

      1. David Murray says:

        GM and Chrysler have never cared much for hybrid technology. It isn’t really hurting their bottom line right now, which I think is ultimately the reason they don’t care. But if they get too far behind, it will come back to bite them. GM probably figures they have the Voltec drivetrain so they can just bide their time until demand picks up for it (IE: next fuel price spike)

        1. Aaron says:

          All the car companies (okay, the American ones specifically) seem to be very reactive rather than proactive toward fuel efficiency. They are going for the short-term almighty dollar rather than thinking down the road (pun intended).

          Unfortunately for us (readers of this site), not so many Americans are thinking down the road, either. They see sub-$4 gas and think it will last forever, then soil themselves when it nearly touches $5.

          Say what you will about Obama: He has a view of the future and is forcibly dragging the American car companies to it, kicking and screaming (CAFE! CAFE!).

          1. Open-Mind says:

            Either your memory or facts seems somewhat selective.

            Today’s gas were considered outrageous when Bush was POTUS. He was vilified and blamed for some type of oil conspiracy. It was another sign of his “failed presidency”. But now the same prices are just fine, and should probably be more expensive? The EV tax credit that we know and love was also started under Bush. Obama just extended it.

            Likewise, the two remaining large US car companies (Chrysler no longer qualifies IMHO) are both selling a very nice production EVs nationwide. Plus U.S. Tesla only sells EVs. Meanwhile, most of team-Japan offers nothing or almost nothing in the EV space. Only tiny-little Nissan has a good EV available nationwide.

      2. Josh says:

        Yes, unfortunately I am not sure the Spark is really the answer, at least in the US market. Another Voltec that could sell in numbers would help them get cost down on the Volt as well. Instead the Spark is going to be an entirely new platform to maintain/scale.

        They should have just signed a quiet deal with Nissan to purchase cheap ZEV credits in exchange for not entering the BEV market for X number of years, then double down on Voltec. I really think GM should try to push their current Voltec hardware harder, ahead of the Gen II system. Just open up the pack from 65% use to 80% use, moving the EPA range from 38 miles to ~47 miles. Add a little price discount on top of it and it would create another surge of sales.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Agreed Josh, although I can’t really criticize GM’s conservative approach regarding the battery (probably Lutz’s Idea). Since its still a bit unknown at this point exactly how hard the thing can be pushed, Its ok with me that they are reserving a bit of capacity.. But if it is possible to safely use more of the battery, then they could put the voltec in a somewhat larger car, like a Malibu for instance, or even a small cross over, something that would be very popular with families. And it could be their only car.

        2. Open-Mind says:

          I’m a fan of the Spark EV, but I agree that GM is really missing the Voltec boat.

          They could plop the Cruze Wagon shell on the Volt chassis, and I think they would sell well at $40K.

          If they added a second electric motor for the rear wheels (giving 298 AWD HP), I think it could compete with Tesla at $50K. Maybe brand it as a Cadillac.

          Opportunities missed IMHO.

  3. Kimmi says:

    This is something to think about: small, cheap plug-ins are selling below expectations, while the larger and more expensive ones are having delivery shortage problems (Tesla Model S, Volvo V60 PHEV…), apparently higher waged consumers are more ready to go electric and the price premium required for plug-ins gets more diluted in higher priced cars.

    For the record, in this year’s EV world ranking, Tesla Model S is #3 and Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In is #4. And they are still being sold in their home markets.

    For more info, click here: http://www.ev-sales.blogspot.ch/2013/04/world-top-10-march-2013.html

  4. GreenDay says:

    This should go over well with the US. We Americans love our SUV!
    We drive them really far, about 20 miles to drop kids off to school, sports and work!
    But in reality, we need to carry a bunch of stuff and small compact plugins really don’t fit the bill for us anymore.

  5. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Bring on the Volt based MPV plug-in….

    MrEnergyCzar

Comments are closed.