Under Wanxiang, Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems to increase focus on low-voltage hybrids
9 October 2013
A123 Systems LLC, a developer and manufacturer of Nanophosphate lithium iron phosphate batteries and systems, has outlined its new organizational structure and strategic focus as a member of the Wanxiang Group, which acquired nearly all of A123’s businesses last January. (Earlier post.)
A123’s transportation business continues to serve customers including BAE Systems, BMW, Daimler, GM and SAIC, among others. The production facilities in Michigan continue to produce the majority of A123’s transportation output and successfully launched the Chevy Spark EV battery system for General Motors earlier this year. (Earlier post.) However, going forward, the transportation unit will be increasingly focused on low-voltage (12- and 48-volt) hybrids to capitalize on the performance advantages of its Nanophosphate EXT chemistry and systems competence in micro-hybrids. (Earlier post.)
Under the new organization, Jason Forcier, who had served as vice president of A123 Systems’ Automotive Solutions Group since August 2009, has been appointed CEO as well as a member of its board of directors. As CEO, Forcier will oversee all battery cell and transportation-related sales, product development and manufacturing activities globally.
In his board role, he will work with the other members of the A123 board, Pin Ni (president of Wanxiang America Corp.) and Tom Corcoran, to oversee all of A123 Systems LLC. The transportation business retains the A123 Systems brand and named Ed Kopkowski, formerly the Chief Operating Officer of A123 Systems, president of the group.
Mujeeb Ijaz, former vice president of the Cell Products Group at A123 Systems, has been appointed president of A123 Venture Technologies, which operates the company’s R&D capabilities for the benefit of A123 and strategically complementary third parties.
(A123’s battery research and development organization, which successfully commercialized the Nanophosphate cathode material, has continued to contribute advances in battery materials and cell design. To support its mission of discovering, developing and commercializing further battery technology breakthroughs, the unit launched a cooperative development model under the name A123 Venture Technologies earlier this year.)
The board also oversees A123 Energy Solutions, which is the business unit focused on grid energy storage and commercial applications. Bud Collins remains president of A123 Energy Solutions.
The executive team is headquartered in A123’s Livonia, Michigan facility which has continuously produced battery systems for the company’s global list of clients since 2010.
The lithium-ion battery activities Wanxiang operated before its acquisition of A123 contribute competitive strength, particularly in China, the company noted. During the next year, these Wanxiang resources will be integrated under A123’s leadership and aligned with the substantial operations A123 has had in China for nearly 10 years.
The Wanxiang Group is one of China’s largest non-state-owned enterprises with approximately $22 billion in annual sales.
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