|Source: A123Systems. Click to enlarge.|
A123Systems, developer of a new generation of Lithium-ion batteries (earlier post), announced it has completed its third round of private equity funding totaling $30 million. The current round of financing brings total investment in the company to $62 Million since its founding.
The batteries, based on proprietary nanoscale electrode technology built on research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), promise 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.
|Battery Technology Comparison|
(<3 Ah cells)
|Life at 100% DoD|
|A123 M1||>3,000 W/kg||1,000|
|High-power Li-ion||1,350 W/kg||500|
New investors in the company are GE, Alliance Capital Management and FA Technology Ventures. Also participating in this round are existing investors, including Motorola, Qualcomm, North Bridge Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (from which A123 licenses the battery technology), OnPoint, YankeeTek and Desh Deshpande, the company’s Chairman of the Board.
A123Systems will use its new capital infusion to increase manufacturing capacity, to continue support for its current customer base and revenue growth, to accelerate the development of batteries for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and to continue development of products for other markets demanding improved power technology.
A123Systems’s advanced batteries have the potential to drastically lower the weight and cost of batteries for hybrid electric vehicles, bringing a new level of performance to automobile manufacturers. An A123Systems battery is projected to be 80% lighter than batteries used in current HEVs and will offer superior life and durability.—David Vieau, CEO and president of A123Systems
Conventional 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 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.
A123Systems is already supplying batteries to the Black & Decker Corporation for use in a heavy-duty, 36-volt line of portable power tools. The company is also working with the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a major undertaking to develop battery materials for future use in hybrid electric vehicles. Preliminary performance results show a technology with great promise for the future of electric and hybrid electric vehicles.