Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV US launch delayed over battery shortage

Mitsubishi resumed full-scale
battery production in August after a five-month shutdown due to
a safety investigation. Supplier Lithium Energy
Japan has been delivering 4,000 battery packs each month since September, but that’s apparently still not enough to fill the overseas inventory pipeline for the
Outlander PHEV and
i subcompact EV while launching the
Outlander PHEV here in the US. So instead of the previous
tentative launch date of Fall 2014, the plug-in
hybrid’s Stateside on-sale date has been pushed back until 2015.

according to Automotive News, which also notes that
Mitsubishi has sold 11,300 plug-in Outlanders this year, though that number reflects the
production stoppage over the battery issues. As of April, battery supplier LEJ will be able to supply 5,000 packs per month just for the
Outlander, but company president Osamu Masuko has gone on record saying that production will have to rise above that in order to make the US launch.

Every Mitsubishi
dealer (and hopefully a fair number of consumers) will be looking forward to a
crossover that, for the moment, doesn’t really have natural rivals. The Outlander PHEV can drive 32 miles on electricity alone, has a top speed of 75 miles per hour in EV mode and offers all-wheel drive with a
towing capacity of over 3,000 pounds. The model should get an impressive MPGe rating from the
EPA when it finally arrives and it figures to be a bellwether for the plug-in
Outlander Sport and
Pajero utility vehicles that are expected to arrive after it. Hopefully 2015 will be its year.

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