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Production of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid has resumed in Japan after a five-month suspension brought about by a battery-related issue, the Nikkei reports.

Soon after the SUV made its market debut in January, a lithium-ion battery short-circuited in a vehicle before it was delivered. Mitsubishi revealed the problem in March, suspending production and shipments as well as asking existing users to refrain from charging their cars.

An internal investigation found that batteries which had been improperly dropped as part of the screening process had found their way into battery supplies from maker Lithium Energy Japan. Steps were taken at both its Aichi Prefecture plant, where the vehicle is assembled, and at the parts supplier to prevent such recurrences.

Mitsubishi also stopped assembly of other models utilising the same batteries – the i-MiEV electric car was one of these – and issued a recall for roughly 1.2 million vehicles in June. Production of the other models resumed in early August.

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Total monthly output of the Outlander PHEV is now 2,000 units a month, but the automaker is looking to double output volume by next May once it has consolidated the installation processes for batteries and motors.

Curently, back orders for the SUV is around 18,000 units, and because of limited battery availability, the company is postponing shipments to the US at the moment and focusing on delivering orders from Japan and Europe. This should also effectively delay the SUV’s planned end-2013 arrival in Malaysia.

The five-seater is powered by a combination of a 2.0 litre MIVEC Generator petrol unit offering 94 hp and a Twin Motor 4WD system comprising independent electric motors to drive both front and rear wheels, coupled to Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system.

Both permanent magnet synchronous motors have a 60 kW output each, and the front unit delivers 137 Nm of torque, while the rear motor offers 195 Nm. The vehicle has a cruising range in excess of 880 km.