Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi
has found the cause of lithium-ion battery problems that caused the Japanese automaker to halt production on its Outlander Plug-in Hybrid in Japan last month.

The batteries, which are made by Lithium Energy Japan, are short circuiting from a screening process that infected the batteries with contaminants. That screening process has been discontinued. Lithium Energy's parent is a Mitsubishi joint-venture with GS Yuasa. That company makes batteries for the Boeing Dreamliner, which also had a number of fires recently. In the meantime, Mitsubishi has notified affected i drivers to stop driving the vehicles, while Outlander PHEV owners have been told to drive only in all-gas mode. Affected vehicles will be recalled next month and Mitsubishi is offering compensation and, if needed, loaner vehicles.

About 4,000 Outlander PHEVs, which went on sale in Japan in late January, and another 150 i all-electric vehicles (known as the i-MiEV overseas) had the problematic batteries, Automotive News reports. Mitsubishi plans to start selling the Outlander PHEV in the US next year.