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Launch of Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid faces delay

So-called "bottlenecks" in battery production have hit Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi hard: with the company announcing it will be forced to delay the US launch of its Outlander plug-in hybrid (pictured) until 2015.

Even though the company has been able to increase its battery supply, it won't have time to be able to start US deliveries as planned next year.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Silver

According to Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko, there is tight capacity with its main battery supplier Lithium Energy Japan. Up to the autumn, Mitsubishi was only receiving about 2,000 battery packs a month as the supplier was splitting production between the Outlander plug-in and the electric car, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

As of September, Lithium Energy Japan was able to move production of the electric car batteries to a new plant: meaning there was more capacity to produce batteries for the Outlander plug-in hybrid at the first plant: and now the company gets 4,000 battery packs a month for the vehicle and expects this to increase to 5,000 a month by April.

The hybrid version of the vehicle is seen as key to Mitsubishi's plans to rebrand itself as a leader in electrified drivetrains: it has sold 11,300 plug-in models globally since the vehicle first went on sale in Japan last January.

However, its launch has been rife with problems: including a recall of more than 4,000 Outlander plug-in hybrids and i-MiEVs in Japan in June due to defective batteries short circuiting.

Mitsubishi has a three year plan which will also see plug-in variants of the Outlander Sport and Pajero SUV introduced by 2017.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green Cars, Hybrid cars, Mitsubishi

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