Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid U.S. launch delayed until 2015 image

Mitsubishi Motors Corp has delayed the introduction of its Outlander plug-in hybrid model in the U.S. until 2015 because of bottlenecks in battery production.

According to the Japanese automaker, the problem comes from Lithium Energy Japan., the company that supplies these batteries; but LEJ (a joint venture between Mitsubishi Motors, GS Yuasa Corp. and trading house Mitsubishi Corp.) was able to supply only 2,000 battery packs a month until August when the company shifted production to a new plant.

Even so, Lithium Energy Japan is able to supply Mitsubishi with a limited number of only 4,000 plug-in battery packs a month, but the company will increase its production again in April; to 5,000 battery packs a month.

The Outlander plug-in hybrid (P-HEV) was unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show and has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder MIVEC gasoline engine and a electric powertrain that was first installed on the I MiEV compact model.  According to Mitsubishi, the vehicle is capable to travel up to 60 km (37 mi) in electric mode only with a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

The Japanese automaker began shipping the plugin vehicle in late January in Japan, but shortly the company issued a recall that forced Mitsubishi to stop assembling the vehicle for about 5 months (late April – August). Overall Mitsubishi recalled more than 4,000 Outlander plug-in hybrids and i-MiEVs in Japan.

In Europe, the Minota based automaker start selling the model in late July 2013. The European version is similar to the Japanese model.

Globally, Mitsubishi sold 11,300 plug-in Outlanders.