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Mitsubishi recalls i-MiEV electric cars due to air bag sensor problems

Consumer Reports News: August 09, 2012 09:38 AM

Mitsubishi Motors North America has issued recall for its 2012 i-MiEV electric vehicles. According to safety officials in both the U.S. and Canada, the Mitsubishi electric cars have front and side airbags that might not deploy during a collision due to errors in the related sensors and software.

More than 260 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars in the U.S. have this air bag safety issue, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who issued the recall notice. Another 49 i-MiEV cars with the same air bag safety concerns were also being recalled in Canada, said Transport Canada.

There have been no reported injuries or accidents associated with the i-Miev's air bag issues. However, sales of the all-electric Mitsubishi car have been slow to take off. The battery-powered Mitsubishi i-MiEV "is fairly crude and uncomfortable just as a car," wrote Consumer Reports car testers in June. Its 62-mile driving range—11 miles shorter than the all-electric competitor, the 2012 Nissan Leaf—is also a concern for consumers wary of the "range anxiety" with all-electric cars.

"Given the range restrictions, it has taken us some time to accumulate the necessary break-in miles before formal testing [on the i-MiEV] can begin," says Gabe Shenhar, a manager at Consumer Reports Car testing program. However, we will have a complete report from our test track facilities soon. In the meantime. for more information on green technology vehicles, see Consumer Reports Guide to alternative fuels.)

Mitsubishi will replace the incompatible air bag sensors with new, compatible units, free of charge, but has not disclosed to safety officials when it will begin notifying i-MiEV owners affected by the air bag safety issue.

For more information, consumers can call Mitsubishi toll-free (800-222-0037) and reference Mitsubishi's internal recall issue number: SR-12-003.

Recall: 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV - Air bags    Campaign #: 12V372000 [NHTSA]
Road Safety Recalls Database: 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV     Recall #: 2012252 [Transport Canada]
Mitsubishi recalling i-MiEV to fix air bag sensors [Detroit News]

Paul Eng

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