General Motors and A123Systems will co-develop cells with A123Systems’ nanophosphate battery chemistry for use in GM’s electric drive E-Flex system. (Earlier post.) The agreement is expected to expedite the development of the batteries for both electric plug-in vehicles and fuel cell variants of the E-Flex architecture.
The contract calls for A123Systems to develop battery cells to meet the specific requirements of GM’s E-Flex system. The E-Flex electric vehicle architecture was first shown in the Chevy Volt concept car revealed earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
Breakthrough battery technology will drive future automotive propulsion, and the company that aligns with the best strategic partners will win. That's what is so important about this deal. Whether you’re talking about the Chevy Volt, a fuel cell or even a plug-in hybrid such as our planned Saturn Vue, we need to understand the fundamental battery cell performance.—Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman of Global Product Development
The Chevy Volt will offer average commuters an all-electric range of 40 miles, potentially eliminating most trips to the gas station.
The Chevy Volt will lead the automotive industry in a new direction. We see a future where vehicles run on electricity and are equipped with clever ways of making electricity on board, making us less dependent on gasoline. It’s the next great paradigm shift in our industry, an opportunity largely due to the rapid advancement in battery cell technology by companies such as A123Systems and LG Chem.—Bob Lutz
Earlier this year, GM awarded two contracts for advanced development of battery packs, which require the integration of multiple battery cells, to Compact Power, Inc., a subsidiary of Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem, based in Troy, Mich.; and Frankfurt, Germany-based Continental Automotive Systems, a division of Continental A.G., a tier one automotive supplier. (Earlier post.)
Under these agreements, one contract was awarded to CPI, which will use battery cells developed by parent company LG Chem. A separate contract was issued to Continental, which will use the cells being co-developed by GM and A123Systems.
A123Systems and LG Chem are both top-tier battery suppliers, with proven technologies. We’re confident one, or possibly both of these companies’ solutions will meet our battery requirements for the E-Flex system.—Denise Gray, director of GM’s Energy Storage Devices and Strategies
Dave Vieau, A123Systems’ CEO, said this type of battery will be advantageous in other transportation industries as well.
We’re talking today about the Volt and implications that it will have on the electrification of passenger vehicles, but the technology goes a lot further than that. The weight, size, safety and performance of these batteries have implications on all transportation, including hybrid buses, trucks and aircraft.—Dave Vieau
A123Systems currently manufactures more than ten million cells annually, making it the world’s largest producer of batteries with nanophosphate chemistry. Most of these cells are used in rechargeable power tools.
In May, 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. The 32-series lineup initially consists 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. (Earlier post.)
The 32113 M1Ultra high power cells are designed to meet the requirements of HEV applications, with high power by volume and cost-per-watt. 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 the GM 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.