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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and i-MiEV’s Li-Ion Battery Fires Linked to Grounded Boeing 787s

Mitsubishi said on Wednesday that a an Outlander plug-in hybrid’s batteries melted at a dealership before it was delivered to a customer, while a i-MiEV’s batteries caught fire at its Mizushima Plant in Okayama prefecture in Japan during testing. In both cases, the battery pack is made by GS Yuasa Corporation, in Japan.

Now, what makes this story interesting is that, according to reports, GS Yuasa Corp. is the same company that supplies batteries for the latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner, all of which have been grounded since January after battery fires.

“This is more serious than the airplane incident,” Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co., told Bloomberg News. “It’s another crunch in GS Yuasa’s expansion plans.”

On Wednesday, Mitsubishi issued a press release describing the Outlander incident:

“On March 20, 2013, an Outlander PHEV was charged fully from a standard outlet then stored at a dealership in Yokohama. The next day (March 21), the dealer personnel attempted to move the vehicle from storage for delivery to a customer (prior to registration) when it was found that it would not move. In addition a strange odor was detected around the vehicle. Upon checking the underbody of the vehicle, signs of melting were observed on the part of the drive battery pack.”

“When the battery pack was examined by the supplier, it was found that one of the battery pack’s 80 cells had overheated, melting adjacent cells. The 80 cells in the drive battery pack are divided and set into three “blocks” within the drive battery pack. Examination found that only one of the three blocks sustained any damage,” the company added.


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