Thanks to a production stoppage caused by battery issues and high demand from Japan and Europe, the US will just have to wait its turn to get the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. That's the news from Green Car Reports, which spoke to Bryan Arnett, senior manager of product strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America, and learned that "a year from now" is the earliest that the plug-in hybrid SUV could reach our shores. That still fits into the original timeline for US sales, which were only promised as following the Japan launch in 2013.
The SUV did indeed launch in its home country earlier this year, but production was halted in March when a melted battery alerted the company to a problem in the 12-kWh pack (sourced from Mitsubishi's JV with GS Yuasa, Lithium Energy Japan). Turns out, the batteries were short circuiting due to a now-discontinued screening process that infected the batteries with contaminants.
When everything works, the battery can move the Outlander PHEV up to 34 miles on battery power and achieve roughly 143 MPGe, according to number issued when the car was unveiled in Paris in 2012. The powertrain also features two electric motors that independently power the two axles and a gasoline engine that can either be used as a generator for the motors or to just power the wheels directly. The company is making up to 4,000 units a month to supply the global demand, which we imagine is high since there are limited options when it comes to large plug-in vehicles. The RAV4 EV is one alternative, if you live in the right place. Same with the BMW x5 PHEV, when that launches. The Tesla Model X isn't out yet, but it could arrive on the US scene at about the same time at the Outlander. We expect the Outlander to be priced lower than the base Model X, but Arnett told GCR that figuring out the MSRP is "a huge discussion right now."