Big City Mayors Discuss Approaches to Reducing Transportation Congestion and Greenhouse Gases
Nissan Opens R&D Center for Environmental and Safety Technologies

A123Systems Introduces New Li-Ion Cells Designed for Hybrids and PHEVs

A123Systems introduced its automotive-class, large-format 32-series Li-Ion cells specifically designed for Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) use at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference 2007 in Long Beach, California.

The 32-series lineup initially will consist of two cells with custom Nanophosphate electrode designs, based on the same proven chemistry as the mass-produced ANR26650M1 cell: the 32113 M1Ultra and 32157 M1HD.

A123Systems anticipates that the 32113 M1Ultra high power cells will offer industry-leading power by volume and cost-per-watt.  Designed to meet the requirements of HEV applications, the 32113 is currently designed into A123Systems’ programs with major US and European auto manufacturers.

The 32157 M1HD cell uses a higher-energy electrode design geared specifically for PHEVs, and should offer greater volumetric energy density and the lowest cost per watt-hour. Currently used in a Saturn Vue PHEV development program, the 32157 is designed to offer superior calendar and cycle life at high depth-of-discharge (DOD), as well as excellent power density for charge-sustaining operation.

Actual performance data is not yet available.

A123Systems says that it optimized the automotive-class lithium-ion cells to offer power, safety and life at price-performance targets that can enable the wider adoption of lithium-ion technology in the auto industry.  Wide power availability over a broad range of state-of-charge as well as exceptional endurance implies that systems with both cells will require minimal oversizing, allowing for lower overall systems cost.

The 32-series cells are designed with abuse-tolerance in mind and will deliver 10+ year and 150,000 mile projected life requirements in engineered automotive battery packs.

A123Systems developed its Nanophosphate chemistry with the assistance of the Department of Energy FreedomCAR program and is a result of more than $102 million in private investment.



I sincerely hope their batteries work as projected. The future of the EV industry is counting on it. That's all I can say on that.


I don't think anyone here would argue that battery and capacitor development are key enabling technologies for the future of transportation and electronics. Is it the development of nanotechnologies which are spurring the sudden increase in developments or just sheer economics?


Nice. The A123 also got a new beefed up website.

Mike Z.

Dang, why can't A123 be a public company. All us investors have is the crappy management of Altairnano! Seriously, guys, look at A123 and copy them, instead of that stupid dependence on just one little EV company!


If they are using standard name/size relationship, then the 32157 battery is 1.25" dia by 6.2 inches long.
If you assume the same volumetric energy and power density as their standard M1 battery, you get 8.3 AH 250 amps continuous discharge.


It appears that the press release race has started. Now,
lets hope the ramp up in Li-ion production and
price reductions are following close behind. This
competition, in getting out large format batteries
into the marketplace, should facilitate getting this
promising technology into the garage of the average Joe
automobile consumer. I hope Mike Z. and like
minded investors, will have some more battery startups,
offering IPO's, so that this market segment has more capitol
to get this technology right. What we are seeing is the
early adopters rushing in and possibly backing the fastest
horse. It's the horse that is going for the long haul, that
will not get put out to pasture early, that will reign supreme
in the end. My money is on old Betsy.
"Firefly" has a buzz and it just will not go away.


This is good news. Ultra caps are not cheap, so if it can be done with batteries then they could save some money on the car. Simple is where lots of engineers want to end up. It may start out simple and get complex, but they usually want to simplify the design before production...less to go wrong.

George K

This is indeed good news. Usually when we hear of Li-ion break throughs, the press release doesn’t mention ANYTHING about the elephant in the room, cost. The wording of this press release in definitely not trying to duck the cost issue, altogether.

The other significant item in this article is that they specifically talk about battery cycle life. Claiming the golden, 10 year and 150,000 mile prize for a PHEV battery is stellar enough. But combined with “lowest cost per watt-hour” could mean that they finally have a formulae which can be afforded by a “large enough” group of buyers.


Good job A123Systems! The nano-tech, phosphate-lithim battery appears to be a great step in the right direction, however, what's the story on EPOD's ultra-cap that can charge under 5 minutes and last through 100,000 charges at peak output and hold about the same amount of juice as the nano-tech lion batts? If the ultra-caps can prove themselves worthy of holding a charge for long periods of time, they sound like the answer for the EV and PHEV industry.



You are referring to EESTOR. The fast charge/discharge and life cycle attributes of EESTOR's technology are not in dispute. Caps inside you computer charge and discharge that many times in a year, if not less, with a negligible effect on performance. What is in question is the charge capacity of such a capacitator. From what I've read, EESTOR needs to achieve a 10^6 fold increase in surface area in order to hold their claimed charge.

I digress....

Hat's off to A123. Now go public, damnit so some of us can make money off of you! (While financing your massive production lines in the U.S. of course :)


There is still the matter of the patent issues involving University of Texas, and Hydro Quebec. I thought Phostech was the exclusive licensee, but that may no longer be the case from the announcements made by Lithium Technology Corporation.

It would take a few years for the lawsuits to clear.


Thanks John. I've read about EESTOR's ultracaps but was refering to an article on EVWorld about EPOD/UBC "Canadian Firm Develops Fast-Charge Ultra-Cap 'Battery'", which describes an ultracapacitor-type battery which they've been developing for at least 3 years that can recharge within a minute, hold as much charge as the new nano-tech phosphate batteries and can be recharges over 100,000 times, relatively cheaply and is relatively environmentally benign. Incredible numbers! The developing firm is: EPOD International Inc. The article doesn't detail their hurdles so much and I can't see why auto manufacturers who are trying to develop PHEV's aren't beating their doors down with those numbers. No expensive lithium is required and relatively no degradation happens. I can't see a drawback.


As a back entry method of investing in A123 you might consider investing in China BAK Battery (CBAK). They are a manufacturer of the A123 cells for the Dewalt power tools and I know that they have invested in a manufacturing center that could be used to manufacture the new A123 cells, although I have no idea if they have any sort of agreement in place for this with A123 as they are pretty secretive about this relationship.


Do they have a working proto type in a car?

If not then I will take A123 solution anytime since
they have working product.


Having read that the Canadian government is backing EPOD on its capacitor I have renewed faith that at least EPOD or EESTOR are actually on to something real perhaps. These capacitors could be real game changers....


Caps can charge and discharge lots of times. They can charge fast and discharge into heavy loads. The energy they store versus batteries is the big difference. Also, how long they hold the charge is an important factor. I think ultra caps will have a place in the industry, but the most revenue may come from advanced battery technology.


35157 - amazing. But this is not the largest LiFePO4 single cell battery, but may be the highest density single cell. Checkout for 350 Wh single cell LiFePO4 with low power (0.3C).

The A123 site does not have the spec sheet. Has anyone seen the spec sheet? What is the energy capacity?


SJC, I agree as far as Ultra caps go as we know them. However both EESTOR and EPOD appear to claim their capacitors have comparable energy density to batteries.


Great news. Hope advancements continue to roll in.

I found an online article at Argonne re: Coin Cell NMR/MRI Imager.

It may be old news here. Patents date back to 2002-04. Certainly helps to speed up feedback of materials testing.


I tend to put the EESTOR and others into the Missouri file (the show me state) I will believe it when I see it.


Ultra caps make ultra sense just no one has shown a car going 50 miles at highway speeds let alone 200 miles on a set. Since batteries have done this its much easier to believe the battery is a good path.
When they show Ultra Caps doing this for less than the cost of a produciton battery I will get excited but until then A123 TEAR it up and bring the cost way down.
Maybe we can all be driving a A123 car in the summer next year and not looking at the pump prices ..


some Taiwanese and Chinese companies are shipping large-format LiFePO4's already.


EPRI, the people that model the electric grid are ready for people charging for 200 mile range during night hours. If 10% of the cars did that and we have E10 in the next 10 years it would help. Throw in 1 day a week of telecommuting for 20% of the workforce and you do even better...and while we are at it..shorten the commutes.


kert, what is the differnece in the chemistry between the A123 and the Taiwanese large-format LiFePO4?

How do they compare in energy capacity per unit volume? I know that in power density A123 is much higher. But what about energy density?

Michael McMillan

I think I am reading the battery sizes correctly, but I may be wrong.
According to the spec, their existing battery, the 26650's size is:
26 mm diameter, and 65 mm long.
giving it a size of 34510 cubic mm, or 34ml.

The 32113 would be 32 diameter, and the picture shows it being longer than it is around, so it would be 113 mm long, giving it a volume of 90879 cubic mm, or 90ml.
the 32157 would be 126266 cubic mm, or 126 ml.

Knowing that packaging takes up a higher percentage of the space on the smaller battery.
The size ratio of the existing battery to the high power battery is about 1 to 3, and the size ratio of the existing battery to the high energy battery is about 1 to 4.

This is a large advantage, however, I wouldn't necessarily call it large format. The high power battery will be about 7 amp hour, and the high energy battery will be about 10 amp hour. It is equivalent to a AA manufacturer all of a sudden manufacturing D cells. It is good, but it isn't like a saft 45AH cell.

Don't get me wrong though, I think that this is a tremendous advantage over what they had before, and if they will sell them retail or wholesale without a maintenance contract, or integrated electronics, and to someone besides dewalt, I think that it will be a tremendous boon for the EV market.


The comments to this entry are closed.