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Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid SUV Now Delayed Til 2015 In U.S.

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The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has generated a fair bit of attention, as the only plug-in hybrid sport utility vehicle thus far that will be offered for sale in the U.S.

But potential buyers will have to wait a little longer, it turns out, due to high demand in other parts of the world and a limited supply of lithium-ion battery packs.

The plug-in hybrid Outlander had already been delayed once, to the autumn of this year, as the company acknowledged last September.

Now, according to industry trade journal Automotive News, MItsubishi is saying that the plug-in crossover will arrive in the U.S. during 2015--no month specified.

That's about two years after it was launched in Japan, but it highlights the capacity constraints that limit production of the plug-in's 12-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Until a few months ago, Mitsubishi was restricted to 2,000 battery packs a month. That has now been expanded to 4,000, and production will grow again to 5,000 a month this spring.

So Far, according to the company, it has sold 11,300 Outlander Plug-In Hybrids. Japan has taken 8,100, and another 3,200 were delivered in Europe.

The gasoline version of the Outlander, launched last July in the U.S., has sold almost 75,000 units.

The launch of the plug-in Outlander hasn't been smooth; Mitsubishi halted sales in the Japanese market and suffered a pair of recalls to modify the battery pack in already-sold vehicles.

But prospects for the mid-size utility vehicle that plugs into the grid would seem to remain strong--whenever it arrives.

Its closest competitor, and the only other high-volume plug-in utility vehicle, will likely be the Tesla Model X crossover, which is scheduled to go into production late this year and sell in volume starting early next year.

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