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PHOTO CAPTION: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will now go on sale in USA in 2015.

Battery Shortage Forces Delay in US Launch of Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In

When Mitsubishi decided to launch a second electric-drive car, this time a plug-in SUV, its supplier wasn't able to keep up with demand.

Published: 31-Dec-2013

It wasn't all that long ago that electric car critics were complaining about 'over-capacity' in battery production. Well, that may be the case in the United States at the moment, but it certainly isn't in Japan, where Mitsubishi is being forced to delay the U.S. launch of its Outlander Plug-In electric hybrid SUV, pictured above, because of a battery shortage.

According to Auto News, a shortage of batteries from its supplier is forcing the Outlander launch to be delayed until 2015 when sufficient cells and completed packs can meet demand.

Mitsubishi's battery problems began when some early production models of the Outlander PHEV experienced 'thermal events.' The lithium batteries were overheating due to contaminates entering the cell manufacturing process. The company says its supplier has resolved the problem, but its also not been able to keep up capacity, forcing Lithium Energy Japan to build a second production facility to produce battery packs for the i-MiEV, some 30,000+ that have been put on the road worldwide under Mitsubishi and PSA Peugeot Citroen badges.

Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko reports that the original capacity of 2,000 packs has now been doubled to 4,000 and will increase to 5,000 a month by April 2014.

He adds, "That means about 60,000 units annually for the plug-in. We can make only 30,000 plug-in vehicles this year. It's going to be double."

Since it's launch nearly a year ago, the company has sold nearly 12,000 Outlander electric hybrids, compared to 74,000 of the ICE-age gasoline versions. Most were sold in Japan with some 3,200 in Europe.

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