Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has recalled more than 4,400 of its Outlander PHEV crossovers and variant of its i-MiEV electric cars in Japan to fix faulty lithium-ion batteries that may overheat.
Mitsubishi recalled 4,313 Outlander PHEV crossovers that potentially have the defective batteries, as well as 17 i-MiEVs and 98 Minicab i-MiEVs.
A small number of affected i-MiEVs were sold in Europe and the United States. Mitsubishi said in April it had contacted drivers in the United States about the problem.
Sales and production of the i-MiEV and the Outlander PHEV crossover have been halted since a manufacturing glitch caused one of their lithium ion battery packs to melt and another to catch fire in March.
Mitsubishi aims to resume production of new i-MiEVs and Outlander plug-in hybrids by the end of August, after the recalled vehicles are fixed. The Outlander PHEV, sold only in Japan, is scheduled to arrive in the United States next year.
The i-MiEV and a commercial vehicle variant called the Minicab come in two trim levels. The upper trim, which gets a bigger, more-powerful battery, uses the Lithium Energy Japan, power pack. The lower trim uses a less-powerful battery made by Toshiba. Mitsubishi has recalled only the vehicles with the Lithium Energy Japan-made batteries. The Toshiba batteries apparently are fine.
The Lithium Energy Japan is a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa Corp.[source: Reuters]