Mitsubishi has officially recalled the 2009-2014 i-Miev electric car to rectify two different design faults which could lead to the car’s brake vacuum pump becoming inoperable, forcing the driver to apply a larger than normal braking force to the pedal and potentially increasing the braking distance of the plug-in city car.
Although the Mitsubishi i-Miev did not enter into the U.S. market until late 2011 as a 2012 model year, the defect affects every Mitsubishi i-Miev made from 15 September 2009 until March 25, 2014. This includes cars which were originally made for Japanese and European markets.
According to the official recall notice which was originally filed with the NHTSA back in late August, two different problems can cause the Mitsubishi i-Miev brake vacuum pump to malfunction.
The first involves improper programming of the EV-ECU, which is responsible for controlling the operation of the brake vacuum pump, which Mitsubishi says can incorrectly detect what it thinks is a stuck relay contact, causing the system to not work.
The second relates to the design of the brake vacuum pump’s exhaust hole, which can become clogged with mud or salt with time, ultimately causing the exhaust hole to corrode and become blocked which in turn prevents the brake vacuum pump from operating properly.
The first mass-produced car to enter into production anywhere in the world, the Mitsubishi i-Miev entered production in Japan in early 2009, with early production exclusively for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM). During the first few months of production, a small number of right-hand drive Mitsubishi i-Miev cars were made for export to the UK for a government-backed electric car test-fleet program, with wider right-and left-hand drive market cars entering production in 2010.
At that time, Mitsubishi started producing rebadged versions of the Mitsubishi i-Miev for French automaker Peugeot Citroen PSA under the brand names Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero respectively, although all cars shared the same chassis, battery pack, and basic features and only slight variances in trim level and drive modes.
It’s worth noting at this point that while all Mitsubishi i-Miev cars appear to have this problem — including each of the 1,810 Mitsubishi i-Miev cars sold in the U.S since its launch there in late 2011 and four Japanese-market 2010 model year demonstration cars shipped to the U.S. as part of Mitsubishi’s early U.S. electric vehicle marketing and publicity program.
While there doesn’t appear to be a European recall notice in force on European market models, we do note that an earlier recall from March this year in the UK seems to be for the same issue, and affects Mitsubishi-badged as well as Peugeot and Citroen-badged cars.
Sadly, we can’t confirm at the time of writing that this spring’s recall in the UK was for the same issue, but given the U.S. Market i-Miev is substantially larger, taller and wider than its JDM and European counterparts in order to comply with specific U.S. safety regulations, it’s conceivable that U.S. market cars were initially believed to be immune from the problem due to their revised design.
Mitsubishi says all U.S. owners of affected cars will be contacted in due course by their dealership for a complementary inspection with any remedial work — be it EV-ECU reprogramming, pump replacement or both –being carried out free of charge.
If you believe your car is affected, you can contact the Mitsubishi customer service centre on 1-888-648-7820 in the U.S., quoting recall notice SR-14-007.
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