Mitsubishi recalls 14,700 EVs globally over brake problem
Callback includes PSA iOn and C-Zero models
TOKYO (Reuters) -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said it will recall about 14,700 electric vehicles globally due to a brake problem unique to the electric-motor powered cars, in one of the biggest callbacks involving battery-driven vehicles.
Outside Japan, Mitsubishi said it was recalling about 8,900 i-MiEV vehicles, mostly in Europe. Some of those are sold as PSA/Peugeot-Citroen iOn and C-Zero models, though Mitsubishi declined to say how many.
The automaker said that in Japan it would recall nearly 3,400 i-MiEV EVs, as well as more than 2,400 Minicab-MiEV vehicles.
The EV recall by Mitsubishi is small compared to recalls of conventional petrol-driven vehicles which have numbered in the millions, though it accounts for nearly half of their overall i-MiEV and Minicab-MiEV production.
The recalled vehicles may carry an improperly shaped or damaged electric pump, which sends air to the brake booster, the Japanese automaker said. The brake booster multiplies the forces applied from the foot and makes braking easier.
A problematic pump may cause the vehicle to run a longer distance when braking before it comes to a complete halt, a spokesman said. No injuries or deaths have been reported and there is no risk of fire, he added.
He declined to comment on the cost of the recall. The pump will be exchanged and the process will take about half an hour, the spokesman, who declined to be named, said.
The pump is not used in conventional cars.
The recall is one of the biggest involving electric vehicles. In August 2012, Fisker Automotive recalled 2,400 Karma plug-in hybrids to repair a faulty cooling fan unit that was the cause of a vehicle fire.
In Jan. 2012, General Motors offered to fix the battery pack for 8,000 Volt plug-in hybrids to eliminate the risk of a fire being triggered days after a crash.
EV sales struggling
Electric vehicles are struggling to make inroads into the auto sector despite a big push by the Obama administration in the United States to boost sales. The battery-powered cars often fall short of consumer expectations especially in driving range.
"This is a matter of one issue, and it's too much to apply the issue to say there is something wrong with [all] electric vehicles," said Tatsuo Yoshida, a senior analyst at Mitsbubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo.
"The cause of the problem is identified and there were no accidents. But the problematic part is the brake, an important part for safety, and that means Mitsubishi Motors' quality check procedure is too weak."
Sales of electric cars make up only a small percentage of the overall global auto market. In 2012, Nissan sold 9,819 of its world's best-selling EV, the Leaf, in the United States, where 14.5 million vehicles were sold in total.
Mitsubishi has sold or exported a total of around 27,200 i-MiEVs since it first went on sale in July 2009.Contact Automotive News