Because of delays in the production of batteries the planned debut on US market slipped to 2015. LEJ (Lithium Energy Japan), a joint venture of Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Corp and GS Yuasa corp (Japanese battery maker) is the company that supplies batteries.
It only produced 2,000 per month, as it had to make both batteries for the Mitsubishi Outlander and the iMiEV. Production has now been separated in two different establishments, so the quantity should rapidly rise to 5,000 a month bringing the total amount of vehicles available for the market from 30,000 to 60,000 for the next year. The traditional version of the Outlander running on gasoline arrived in July to the States, but as Mitsubishi aims to change the way people look at the company, electric vehicles are a big part of their future. Opening the market to the US would reduce costs and increase sales, without mentioning the opportunity to make that change in public’s opinion true.
From late March until late August, the car maker were forced to suspend production due to faults in the battery packs that caused the recall of more than 4,000 Outlanders and iMiEV last June. If they want to open to the US market though, 5,000 batteries a month won’t be enough to satisfy the request and deliver the vehicles in reasonable time. Masuko said another increase will be necessary after April, adding that the company is open to expanding its supply to other suppliers. Toshiba corporation is already producing battery packs for low-trim versions of the iMiEV, so we might see them taking on the production of other batteries for other models as well to satisfy the increasing demand.
Mitsubishi has big plans for its future; under a three year business plan released last month, the company aims to add plug-in variants of the Pajero and Outlander Sport to its offer by the end of 2017. If they wish to change the view of their customers they surely can’t afford to make mistakes like what happened last year with their batteries and they will have to make sure they have a sufficient supply to satisfy demand. A recent agreement signed with the Nissan-Renault alliance entered them into a corporation that will allow the maker to develop with them their new EV and the related technologies to make them one of the best choice. Both Nissan and Renault have already on the market some interesting Electric Vehicles, respectively the Leaf and the Zoe.