Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. has recalled 1,810 of its i-MiEV electric cars. This is nearly all of the vehicles sold by the Japanese automaker in the U.S. The cars were recalled because improper programming and corrosion to the brake pump caused by road spray could lead to sluggish braking and a heightened crash risk, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All 2010 through 2014 I-MiEV models are cited as potentially problematic. The recall goes back even to the first demo models the company made in 2009.
In August, Mitsubishi submitted a defect report to the NHTSA alerting it to the fact that improper programming of the EV ECU, which controls the brake vacuum pump, may cause the ECU to falsely judge that the relay contact point is stuck. Additionally, the report said, mud containing road salt could enter and adhere to the brake vacuum pump exhaust hole, causing it to be blocked from corrosion of the aluminum portion. Japan-based Mikuni Corp. was identified by NHTSA documents as the supplier of the faulty brake parts. Mitsubishi said that it plans to notify owners about the recall and dealers will either reprogram the brake vacuum pump controller, replace the brake vacuum pump or do both.
Mitsubishi issued a similar recall of 1,400 model year 2012 i-MiEVs last year due to faulty brake pumps, also made by Mikuni. The cause of the defect was different, though. It was blamed on “a vane built with compromised structural integrity due to an inappropriate manufacturing process,” a letter from the automaker to the NHTSA said. More than 30,000 i-MiEV and i-MiEV-based production vehicles have been sold worldwide and 1,846 have been sold in the U.S., according to its maker. It is unclear whether recalls have been implemented in other countries in which the cars were sold. The recall announced Wednesday includes model year 2010-2014 i-MiEV electric vehicles manufactured Sept. 15, 2009, to March 25, 2014.
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