Mitsubishi Motor Corp. has initiated a recall due to battery problems in its i-MiEV electric car in Japan, which could possibly be happening, too, in the US. This stems from a Japanese manufacturing plant crisis in March where a glitch caused one of its lithium ion battery packs to melt and another one to catch fire. This also impacted the Outlander plug-in hybrid crossover that Mitsubishi has only been selling in Japan. The automaker will be recalling more than 4,000 vehicles with potentially faulty batteries in Japan. Only a small number of the i-MiEVs (which Mitsubishi is no calling the “i “car) have been sold in Europe and the US.
The company completed a repair at its factory last month that it believes will prevent the defects. The new process will produce replacement batteries for the cars being recalled. Mitsubishi thinks it can return to regular production of new i-MiEVs and Outlanders by the end of August. Battery supplier Lithium Energy Japan has verified repairs for the batteries.
The battery breakdowns and recalls are a blow for Mitsubishi, which has been counting on plug-ins to rebrand itself as an eco-leader. In the US, Mitsubishi has been counting on fleet sales to move the i-MiEV sales forward, but it’s only had a small presence in the market so far.