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Battery bottlenecks delay Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid launch

Mitsubishi has sold 8,100 Japan-market Outlander plug-in hybrid units since the vehicle went on sale in January. The vehicle is a key element of the company’s effort to rebrand itself as a leader in electrified drivetrains
TOKYO — Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has delayed the U.S. launch of its Outlander plug-in hybrid until 2015, two years after its global debut, because of bottlenecks in battery production.

The company is ramping up battery supply, but it won’t be enough to start U.S. deliveries of the electrified crossover next year as planned.

Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko said the problem is tight capacity at its main battery supplier, Lithium Energy Japan. The company is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Motors, Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa Corp. and trading house Mitsubishi Corp.

Until this fall, Mitsubishi was getting only 2,000 battery packs a month from LEJ because the supplier was splitting production between batteries for the Outlander plug-in and batteries for Mitsubishi’s i electric vehicle, which is sold as the i-MiEV in Japan.

But in September, LEJ shifted production of EV batteries to a separate plant, freeing capacity at the first plant for more Outlander plug-in hybrid batteries.

Mitsubishi now can get 4,000 plug-in battery packs a month and expects that to increase to 5,000 a month in April, when LEJ expands capacity again.

More http://www.autonews.com/article/20131229/OEM06/312309967?template=mobile&X-IgnoreUserAgent=1

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