Mitsubishi iMiev, Outlander PHEV Battery Overheating

Mitsubishi is reporting some serious problems with the lithium ion batteries that the company uses in their iMiEV and Outlander vehicles.

The company said this week that an i-MiEV's batteries caught on fire during testing at the company's Mizushima Plant, while the batteries in an Outlander plug-in hybrid melted at a dealership, prior to delivery to a customer. In both instances, the battery packs were made by Japan based GS Yuasa Corporation. Adding fuel to the fire is that GS Yuasa Corp is also the battery supplier for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, all of which have been grounded due to battery fires since January. They also make battery packs for Honda's Civic HV and the Accord PHEV. Honda says that they have not received any reports of battery incidents. The Mitsubishi dealership in Yokohama discovered the melted batteries a day after charging the Outlander PHEV for the first time prior to delivery to a customer. When the car wouldn't move, and a strange odour was detected, personnel discovered signs of melting on the battery pack. When the supplier examined the battery pack, it was found that one of the battery's 80 cells had mysteriously overheated, causing adjacent cells to melt. No one was injured in the incident, but Mitsubishi is advising owners to avoid charging their batteries until the problem is resolved. Approximately 4,000 units of the Outlander PHEV have been sold since it's release in January. Once a fix is found, a recall is likely. The situation could also delay the US and European launches of the Outlander PHEV if things don't move quickly. Also this week, during a charge test at the company's plant, the lithium-ion battery pack in a Mitsubishi iMiEV caught on fire. As a result, production of the iMiEV and the Minicab iMiEV commercial electric vehicle using lithium-ion batteries has been suspended. Prone to overheating issues, safety concerns have been cited as the reason why lithium-ion batteries have not been fully embraced by the automotive industry until recently.

By Linda Aylesworth -


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