The battery problems that plagued the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid and the i-MiEV electric vehicle now have a price tag. GS Yuasa, which runs the Lithium Energy Japan joint venture – the battery maker responsible for the packs in question – with Mitsubishi, set aside three billion yen ($30 million US) for "extraordinary losses" last quarter. This is according to the Nikkei, which adds that GS Yuasa isn't giving up on lithium-ion batteries, and intends to spend 12 billion yen ($120 million US) on increasing li-ion battery production over the next three years.
In March, Mitsubishi stopped making the Outlander PHEV and i-MiEV because of two potentially dangerous incidents. A battery in a parked Outlander PHEV melted due to a short circuit caused by contaminants in the battery and then an i-MiEV caught fire at Mitsubishi's Mizushima factory. No one was injured in either case. After an investigation, Lithium Energy Japan changed the screening process to make the packs safer. In May, Mitsubishi announced that it would double Outlander PHEV production – to 4,000 a month – to make up for lost time. The i-MiEV is available now and the Outlander PHEV is supposed to arrive in the US next year.