Mitsubishi has recalled 4,313 of its Outlander Plug-In Hybrids in Japan to fix a potential defect that it identified last month.

The company resumed production of the plug-in hybrid Outlander after discovering the cause of a fire in one lithium-ion battery pack at a dealership in Japan.

The first battery-fire problem was found to be due to a new screening process that had been introduced on the assembly line for the batteries.

That process allowed microscopic contaminants to enter the battery through a defect introduced when cells were dropped during the screening.

The newly added screening step was removed to let production resume.

Yesterday, the company also recalled 115 additional vehicles, including its i-MiEV battery-electric minicar.

This is actually the second recall for the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid.

In April, Mitsubishi recalled 3,839 of the cars to update software that controlled the vehicles' front and rear electric motors.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has attracted a great deal of interest among buyers of plug-in electric cars.

It's the only crossover utility vehicle available as a plug-in, except for the low-volume 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV.

The RAV4 EV has a Tesla-designed battery-electric powertrain, but it's a compliance car of which only 2,600 will be sold over three years--and only in California.

So the plug-in hybrid Outlander is viewed by many as the first such vehicle to offer full electric running (up to 25 miles, the company says) along with unlimited range and enough space for not only five people but also all their gear.

The new Outlander, entirely redesigned for 2013, is now on sale in the U.S, but only with a gasoline engine. The plug-in hybrid Outlander is due to arrive late this year.


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