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Mitsubishi halts production of i-MiEV, Outlander PHEV after two plug-in car fires – AutoblogGreen

Last week was a rough one for Mitsubishiand its efforts to broaden its appeal among potential plug-in vehicle buyers. Two fires caused the Japanese automaker to halt production of both the Outlander plug-in hybrid and a version of the all-electric i-MiEV. The two separate incidents – both in Japan – involved plug-in vehicle battery-pack fires and, until the cause is found, production will be suspended, reports Automotive News.

The first fire occurred March 18 in the battery pack of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV (known in the US simply as the i) at the company’s Mizushima factory. The pack overheated, causing a 98-minute fire in which no injuries or building damage occurred. The accident may have been caused by what Mitsubishi calls “a change in the manufacturing process of the battery supplier.” As a result, the company is calling fleet-vehicle operators with i-MiEVs whose batteries were made under the same process as those that overheated and is working on a possible fix.

Meanwhile, on March 21, a battery pack in Outlander PHEV overheated at a Yokohama dealership. About 80 cells within the battery overheated, damaging one of the three blocks of cells in the battery and causing the unregistered car to not be able to run. Mitsubishi says owners of the Outlander PHEV should hold off on external charging until a further investigation of the cause of the incident is conducted. Mitsubishi says the fire will not delay the plug-in Outlander’s US launch and there is no official word if a recall will be required for either vehicle. Mistubishi has sold 4,000 Outlander PHEVs in Japan.


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