Mitsubishi Recalls i-MiEV and Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Over Battery Fault

Following a meltdown and minor fire incidents in Japan-market Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrids equipped with a certain supplier’s batteries used also in i-MiEVs, and a production halt in April, Mitsubishi is recalling affected cars, including a few in the U.S.

The recall of around 4,000 vehicles was anticipated in April after the source of the incidents was discovered. This week’s formal recall is for Japan-market i-MiEV, and re-badged Peugeot and Citreon European-market versions are included, as well as Japan-market Outlander plug-in hybrids.

Only a small number of the i_MiEVs were also sold in Europe and the U.S.

“We are preparing appropriate measures for markets outside Japan, but this is not the appropriate time to give details,” said Japanese spokeswoman Namie Koketsu to Automotive News.

An exact number of exported European and U.S. i-MiEVs affected including some that came to the U.S. was not announced, but previous reports had the number as fewer than 50 units.

Lithium-energy Japan, the supplier whose batteries were affected, has already confirmed a fix to the faulty product.

A couple of causes were attributed to the issues: In cases, workers dropped affected batteries which made internal pieces break and contaminate the cells. Secondarily, internal damage was caused in certain instances by excessive force applied during a screening process during manufacture.

The i-MiEV has lagged in sales in the U.S., and the Outlander plug-in is due to be launched later this year, having already proven more popular in Japan than the gas-powered version, and being launched in Europe also.

A remedy to the Outlanders is expected to be complete prior to their U.S. launch.

Automotive News