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A123Systems Launches New Higher-Power, Faster Recharging Li-Ion Battery Systems

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A123Systems, developer of a new generation of lithium-ion batteries, today unveiled its technology that delivers up to 10x longer life, 5x power gains and dramatically faster charge time (more than 90% capacity in five minutes) over conventional high-power battery technology.

These characteristics make the battery highly suited for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle applications, and A123 Systems is working with the DOE to develop next-generation materials for hybrid vehicles.

A123Systems’ batteries use proprietary nanoscale electrode technology built on research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and exclusively licensed from MIT.

Traditional Li-Ion technology uses active materials with particles that range in size between 5 and 20 microns. These large particles are required to minimize safety risks inherent to first-generation Li-Ion chemistries.

A123 Li-Ion Power
Pulse duration C rate Power Density
Continuous discharge 30 189W 2,700 W/kg
Long pulse 80 240W 3,480 W/kg
Instant pulse 100 344W 4,990 W/kg

A123 batteries, however, use a safe and stable active material that can use particle sizes below 100nm without adverse reaction. This new storage electrode enables much faster kinetics providing higher power than is yet possible from any other Li-Ion chemistry.

Furthermore, to take advantage of the power delivered by this new chemistry, A123 has developed novel electrode and cell designs that provide the lowest impedance of any battery of its size, and a new electrolyte system that operates over a much wider temperature range.

The A123 batteries offer:

  • Twice the energy density of other Li-Ion HEV cells, with the highest power to weight ratio of any commercially available battery (2,700 W/kg at continuous discharge).

  • The lowest impedance of any cell/packs in its class.

  • Low impedance growth even at very high charge/discharge rates.

  • Excellent performance over a wide temperature range (-30 to 60 degrees C).

  • Intrinsically safe chemistry (especially important in large batteries).

  • Outstanding calendar life.

  • Novel design that withstands extreme shocks and vibration.

A123Systems’ first battery is now in production and being delivered to the Black & Decker Corporation for use in DEWALT power tools.

A123Systems has raised more than $32 million in funding from heavyweight investors, including include Desh Deshpande (chairman of the A123 board), Qualcomm, Sequoia Capital, Motorola, North Bridge Venture Partners, MIT, YankeeTek and OnPoint Technologies, a strategic private equity firm funded by the United States Army.


Patrick Malone

While it makes me happy to read that VCs are finding interest in alternative fuel development and the technology to drive on it, I am frustrated by the transportation industry engineers that peddle the "plug-in" concept as a boon in fuel efficiency, and hope someday soon a person attending one of these conferences will display significantly greater moxie.

At this time, our primary source of electricity is coal or some from of hydrocarbon (natural gas, diesel, etc.) and it is best not to bring into a discussion what America "will" use one day. Keep with the facts of today and the next 10 years in your thinking - that much we can hang onto with some level of confidence for discussion's sake.

When we generate electricity, there is an immediate 30% loss in total energy available in the form of heat at the power plant as the massive engines turn the giant dynamos at high speed (larger than the 60 kW generators I used to work with as an engineer on submarines). When that electricity is then sent downstream to your house, it usually passes through at least one power station along the way - a place that generates added power to boost what was lost in the wire (10% to hysteresis). When it finally reaches your wall outlet where your plug-in vehicle is charging, the electricity must enter your batter where it is converted back into chemical energy with a net loss of another 30%. When you decide to hit the road in your plug-in, the energy must again change from chemical to electricity (30% lost again) then travel through the thin wires and tiny windings in your electric motor (another 10% lost to hysteresis) before finally providing your vehicle with motive power.

A plug-in does get more miles per gallon … that’s mile per gallon in your car … but not gallons burnt trying to electrify your municipal power grid. I wish this was not so, but the laws of thermodynamics are absolute, and plug-in proponents must come to understand the larger picture.


Pal -

Look at the whitepaper on the Tesla website. It shows a
full analysis of their raodster vs several other
technologies in terms of energy usage and co2 emissions.
In your analysis you look at an EV in a very negative
light but you don't do the same for an internal
combustion engined car. In the end it turns out that
the Tesla is over 2x as efficient as a Prius but it
will accelerate like an exotic car. It also shows that
many of the numbers in your analysis are off by "a bit"
(for example the electic -> battery energy conversion
is 93% efficient, not 70% as you said). Your analysis
is on the right track, only your numbers need to be

There are other advantages to the EV vs a gasoline or diesel or alcohol engine:
overall greenhouse emissions are far less
overall energy usage is far less
local tailpipe emissions are 0
input energy is domestic (as opposed to imported)
input energy can be adjusted without changing the vehicle fleet (if all electric)
input energy can be 100% green (wind, hydro, solar...)

In the end, the big picture is this: The only problem
that needs to be solved is battery technology for EVs
to become the norm. Everything else is table steaks.
For example - what if you could get a battery pak that
had twice the energy density, half the cost and twice
the longevity as compared to current Tesla battery pack?
We'd all be driving EVs.... The good news is, the day
where this is available is not far off.


Dan Petit

As an ASE Certified Educator (ICE) Advanced Engine, there are several other benefits of EV's which no-one has yet explained:
Most folks are pretty fed up with the 538,000 different technical systems used in the past 25 years of automobile manufacture when they fail. After 8 years or so, most of the value of a gasoline powered auto has gone right into the trash.
Nowadays, with the nation bleeding its cash assets overseas and resultingly having fewer and fewer very good paying jobs, one thing that most gasoline-powered auto promoters do not like to think about is that an electric automobile is itself a savings account of equity. Yes, the battery may degrade over the many years, but, the last hybrid Toyota Prius which I just recently scanned (with the best scanner on the market) had an incredibly NIL set of wear patterns. For most of us nowadays, the new demand in addition to all the other bells, lights, and whistles which auto magazines push us to demand, is the demand that a vehicle hold its resale value. Most internal combustion vehicles can do no such thing. Having an electric vehicle may indeed again become a 20 year or 30 year "deal" as once automobiles used to be, especially cutting most of the gas costs.
Dan P.

Arwed Lang

Indeed..........keep going and do become independant of hydro carbon (petrol etc) lets face it we MUST do something about, this CO2 problem and I am convinced that eventually we, the engineers and others solve our major problem. My money will go for 100% electric asap, no hybrid no nothing ONLY electric at a decent speed and range. Li ion looks promising as it has that potential.
Arwed L.


let me add...

a couple of posts up someone says NHTSA will not let lead acid batteries in the passenger compartment and the trunk is included...

add to that state laws, in Virginia you CAN NOT power an electric vehicle with anything except gelled type batteries, no battery that has an acid type liquid may be used.


two comments in one ...
First on wind turbines. Notice what is already on the side of your highway, each mile has a big tower with a billboard on it. Easy enough to add a wind turbine to the top, be very cost effective. Would also make people look at the adverts.

Now on to the one missing ingredient for PEV's ... An infrastructure... and it is SO simple ... Each major shopping plaza needs a "pay for it power supply" with a standard plug, so people can plug in and shop/eat/pee while the car is recharging. Begin demanding the plugs by insisting on a 110v variety for mobility scooters, then a 220v x60amp one for PEV's. Most will charge at home, but having an infrastructure will make the Electric car viable for full length trips.


Full version is free to download at


its best innovation in this trouble time it is best option for automobile. so improve a electric vehicle technology more speedly charge and long life.. i like electric vehicle, i have electric two wheeler vehicle bec. i like save our world and my family..
is it available in market???????
bec. i shall try for change battery in my vehicle...
if possible
thank you,,,,,,


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