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A123 Systems to supply packs for EV from major North American automaker

Boston Business Journal. A123 Systems Inc. has been chosen to produce battery packs for a battery-electric vehicle produced by an unnamed “major” North American automaker, said CEO David Vieau during the firm’s quarterly call earlier this week.

“We had previously announced that we were in consideration for that ... there was a competitive environment,” Vieau said. “We’ve been selected for it and we’re tooling up to go forward.” The Watertown, Mass.-based maker of lithium-ion batteries will be producing the battery packs at the company’s factory in Livonia, Mich., and the company began delivering engineering battery packs late last year, Vieau said.

A123 has previously announced battery deals with a major Chinese automaker and several smaller customers in the US, including Fisker Automotive and Navistar, but last August said it had withdrawn from a program to supply batteries for Chrysler electric vehicles.

A123’ annual net loss increased by 78% in 2010 due to investment to support rapid growth in coming years.



How much of those batteries will be produced in their Chinese plants to lower total cost? Worldwide competition will be fierce and price per Kwh will drop for the next 5 to 10 years.


Shipping to China back and forth, aberrant business behavior and poor quality parts and workmanship limits the return on low cost manufacturing.

There is an entirely new industry in NA built around manufacturing batteries domestically. A123 would find a very friendly business environment in the US and Canada were they to elect to manufacture most of their packs here. Look what Michigan and the Fed has done for battery development in their state.


There are some things you probably don't want made in China. Reliability and quality control is not yet up to Japanese or American standards. Electric bicycle manufacturers have learned this lesson the hard way:

Although, I'm certainly happy with my A123 batteries:

Henry Gibson

TH!NK has arbitrarily decided that ZEBRA batteries are not suited for the US market, perhaps because of the belief that the people there cannot learn to keep their electric vehicle plugged in when not being used. After ten or so years, most ZEBRA cells will still be good and can be put in a new and cheaper case with a few replacement cells for another ten years as a stationary UPS power source. Cell failures in a ZEBRA battery result in just a slightly lower voltage. Working individual cells from some battery packs can be used as replacement cells in the new stationary packages or even in a separate package from the unit with a few failed cells. Or they can be used individually or in small groups. They would make a perfect CARAVAN (RV)battery. ..HG..

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