Those clamoring for a plug-in hybrid from Mitsubishi are going to have to wait a bit longer. The U.S. launch of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been delayed due to battery production issues, pushing the electrified Outlander's on-sale date to 2015.
The Outlander PHEV was revealed at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show and is currently on sale in both Japan and Europe, but Automotive News reports that limited production capacity at Lithium Energy Japan -- the Outlander PHEV's battery manufacturer -- is responsible for the delayed American launch.
A joint-venture between Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Corp, and battery maker GS Yuasa, Lithium Energy Japan builds batteries for both the Outlander PHEV, and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car. Late last year, Lithium Energy Japan shifted i-MiEV battery production to another plant, giving itself the capacity to build 4000 Outlander battery packs per month. The battery supplier expects to increase capacity again in April to 5000 per month.
The increased capacity will help boost Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV numbers for its U.S. launch, helping fill-out Mitsubishi's showrooms in the States. The automaker expects to be able to build 60,000 Outlander PHEVs per year once Lithium Energy Japan ups its capacity. Mitsubishi has sold 11,300 Outlander PHEVs globally since the vehicle's launch a year ago.
Once the U.S. launch of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is off the ground, it'll likely be joined by an Outlander Sport PHEV, and possibly the rebirth of the Montero in plug-in hybrid form.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)