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GM and A123Systems to Co-Develop Lithium-Ion Battery Cell for Chevrolet Volt

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.



they [GM] aren't idiots




What is your point jack? If you don't have a company that is successful all the time you (and everyone in your organization) are idiots?

Please, tell us what company you work for...


What is your point jack?

That GM is run by idiots and has been for a long time.

If you don't have a company that is successful all the time you (and everyone in your organization) are idiots?

All the time? Take a look at that chart. In current dollars, the share price is pretty much what it was over 40 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, it's considerably lower. If it weren't for dividends, the paltry real rate of return of that investment would be a large negative number.

Please, tell us what company you work for...

Cry a little more, flag waver. Did I offend your jingoistic sensibilities by pointing out cold, hard facts about GM's financial ineptitude?


Wow, YOU are pretty dense huh? You haven't ever heard of stock splits have you?

Patrick ... pls. don't feed the troll.


Patrick, Jack's chart includes the effect of stock splits (which in GM's case are quite rare). GM common stock has been a poor investment for 40+ years. Long term shareholders got a few percent dividend and some occasional spinoff stock (e.g. Hughes, Delphi) but no appreciation.

I don't know what to make of this announcement. They already had pack contracts in place and A123 recently announced the AHR32157M1HD cell targeted at PHEVs. Maybe GM wants prismatic? Seems like a fluid situation.


"That is why in order to save capitalism from itself (and also to save liberalism), monopolies and oligopolies must be smashed and outlawed."


The problem with your statement is the selectivity with which it is applied. Toward GM, DeBeers and the Hunt Brothers it is anathema, but state controlled media (China) insurance companies (British Columbia) and health care (Canada) are seen as good government. Any time there is an elimination of choice, the service or product will eventually self-corrupt. It is the fear of better quality products and services that keep a system working at its full potential. When choice is removed - the system weakens, becomes complacent and fails.

There are some twenty to thirty global battery making companies that should not be discounted or dismissed from this game. And the very real potential in ultracaps should give pause to all in the electrical storage business. A multitude of choices will drive GM to meet its claims, Toyota to safer power packs and the oil companies to greener fuels.

Next question is, how different is choice from free will?


fuelcelltoday.com has an article that reads: "The mass production of fuel cell cars will occur before 2020, according Larry Burns, vice president of research and development at General Motors."
How can you read this and NOT be a Conspirator?


Wow, YOU are pretty dense huh? You haven't ever heard of stock splits have you?

Already accounted for that, moron.


According to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota is going to be using NiMh until 2011, which gives GM a heck of an opportunity if they follow through with their stated goal of mass production of the Volt by 2010. Tesla, GM and Toyota all hitting the market in a short timeframe with either BEV's or PHEV's with reasonable range... I really think that the Volt's flexibility will be a great feature. Drive all electric or, if you are going on a road trip, the ICE kicks in for long, long range driving....



You guys seemed to have jumped to conclusions about A123 SELLING ITS PATENTS to GM...where does it say that? Co-develop does not mean "sell patents"... Yes there are dangers when a much smaller supplier becomes involved in contracts with a much larger company...but the difference here is that A123 is developing business on a number of different fronts. Most GM suppliers in the past have been much more dependent upon GM or other big 3 automakers...A123 has created a buzz and interest in the marketplace that should give it more leverage in the relationship.


Sulleny, absolutely - anti-trust should be applied to state corporations as well, and in fact, ahead of the private sector. State corporations are the most complacent, with highest overhead, and the least innovative and least efficient.

There are not that many choices in batteries. Lifepo has basically sewn it up for the near future, and it is controlled by a Hydro Quebec (mega state monopoly) patent. nano-lifepo will dominate and it will be tough competing with it. The patenting system eliminates choice of suppliers.


Sulleny, absolutely - anti-trust should be applied to state corporations as well, and in fact, ahead of the private sector. State corporations are the most complacent, with highest overhead, and the least innovative and least efficient.


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