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Boston-Power to supply Li-ion battery systems to Beijing Electric Vehicle Company for EVs, starting with Saab 9-5 based C70

Boston-Power, Inc., a provider of next-generation lithium-ion battery cells, modules and systems (earlier post), has entered a multi-year agreement to provide lithium-ion battery systems to Beijing Electric Vehicle Company (BJEV), the electric vehicle delivery arm of Beijing Automotive Industry Company (BAIC). The two companies, which have a long-standing working relationship, project that Boston-Power’s battery systems will be used in hundreds of electric vehicles (EVs) starting in 2012 and thousands of EVs by 2014.

The systems will be based on Boston-Power’s second-generation Swing 5300 cells, said Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, Boston-Power’s Founder and International Chairman. Under the terms of the agreement, Boston-Power’s battery systems are expected to support multiple BJEV models and brands.

“China’s stated policy is to lead the world in the development of clean transportation and we intend to produce thousands of hybrid and electric vehicles.”
—Fang Qing, general manager of
Beijing Electric Vehicle Company

Availability of pre-ordered vehicles begins in fourth calendar quarter 2012 with the C70 sedan, which is based on the 9-5 SAAB chassis BAIC acquired in 2009. (Earlier post.) The BAIC C70 will use a 30 kWh pack, Lampe-Önnerud said.

(Saab’s planned zero-emission, high performance electric vehicle, the ZE Saab 9-3, would have been powered by a Swing battery system. Earlier post.)

Boston-Power cells are based on a flat, oval-shaped prismatic design with external dimensions equivalent to two conventional 18650 lithium-ion cells. The company has introduced two cell products from its technology platform: Swing cells for transportation and stationary energy storage applications; and Sonata cells for notebook and portable power applications, as well as a family of battery blocks, modules and systems for large format applications.

The Swing 5300 cell—introduced earlier this year and based on the same technology platform as the first generation Swing 4400 cell (cobalt and manganese cathode and graphite anode, earlier post)—was designed to target the challenges of the automotive market and offers 10% reduced internal impedance by 10% and ~20% increased energy density, leading to reduced heat generation and therefore longer life.

Key features of the Swing 5300 include:

  • High energy density of 490 Wh/L and 207Wh/kg (186Wh/kg usable at 90% DOD).

  • 10-year reliable calendar life: 1000+ cycles at 100% DOD; 2000+ cycles at 90% DOD; 3500+ cycles at 75% DOD

  • Industry-leading operating temperature range: Discharge -40°C to 70°C; charge -20°C to 60°C

  • High constant power: 440W/kg

  • Pulse power: 1000W/kg (10s pulse)

  • Multiple redundant safety features including CIDs, redundant vents, aluminum can.

As the automotive market took off, we were invited into China at a time when it is incredibly exciting to be in China; the players are working very hard. The Chinese government is putting incentives in place to have the market grow. China is already the number one car market in the world; I think they are quite determined to be number one in electric. I think Boston-Power has a chance to be one of the players that enable that dream.

The way I view the world is this. China is taking off in electric transport. They are the real market. In the US today, unfortunately, we lost a lot of that policy, and have debated whether we need the policy, whereas China is extremely clear they are not able to grow [the electric vehicle market] without it. Strategically, I think that’s a better market.

I think this is the new China. You don’t have to grow the company [there] organically, you leverage partnerships to grow. The opportunity is there. What we have to do is do good and make money.

—Christina Lampe-Önnerud

In July, China’s State Council published a plan to develop the domestic energy-saving and new energy vehicle industry, including battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. The central government is targeting the production of 500,000 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2015, with output to grow to 2 million units of those types by 2020. China is targeting the cumulative production and sales of more than 5 million new energy vehicles, including fuel cell vehicles, by that time as well. (Earlier post.)

In September 2011, Boston-Power announced $125 million in funding from a combination of private equity investment and support from China. (Earlier post.) The growth capital and Chinese government incentives are being used to scale manufacturing, research and development, and business development activities in China.

The private equity round was led by GSR Ventures, a venture capital firm with more than $1 billion under management that invests primarily in early stage and growth stage technology companies with substantial operations in China.

Additionally, through its stimulus programs and local industrial policies, the Chinese government is providing a range of grants, low-interest loans and related financial and tax incentives.

As part of its plans, Boston-Power is establishing an R&D and EV battery engineering facility in China. This organization is building upon the current generation of Boston-Power’s lithium-ion battery technology to develop new energy storage products and solutions. The company is also building an advanced manufacturing facility outside Shanghai that will be capable of producing 400 megawatt hours (MWh) of lithium-ion battery cells annually by the end of 2012.

I’m pleased to see how well R&D is working with manufacturing. We launched the 4400 and then a year and a half later the 5300, using the same production line. As we continue to drive product into the market, the very key thing is the customers. We could not have done this without the customer base we have, big brands [such as Lenovo and HP] recognized what we bring to the table.

—Christina Lampe-Önnerud

Boston-Power broke ground on the plant last September, and is “on target, on plan, on budget” to have it up and running by the end of the year, said Lampe-Önnerud. First shipments are expected in the first quarter of next year. The company’s plant in Taiwan is still operating as well.



Boston-Power ha s a good product and this Lampe lady is hard-nose smart.

Between the lines, Boston-Power is in China long because of US Energy loan co-sign foul-ups.

This is another case where Obama "talks the talk", but can't "walk the walk." Sorta like being a US Constitutional Law professor who then sends the DOJ on endless warrant-less searches of Americans - and declares it all Constitutional.

He's just lucky that his competition would layoff your mom.


Now start applying that skepticism to Front Line.


Many remember the Japanese buying existing US infrastructure. Seems the Chinese prefer future infrastructure..


This is an excellent move by the Chinese Group to accelerate the mass production of electrified vehicles for the local (Chinese, Asian and World) markets.

Logically, Boston Power will probably go the same way as A-123 and many others. This is what happened in USA in the 20 th century. The attraction pole has moved some 10,000 Km.


E-P, what skepticism? Romney would layoff your mom, mine, dad, distant relatives - as thousands know.

He is a pioneer of corporate raiding, outsourcing, and his parties global financial meltdown legacy.

Even McCain studied Romney's hidden financial tax behavior - and picked Sarah Palin as a better leader(YIKES!).

Some follow their heart and money, offshore..


You may have to read the 'Decline and Fall' of USA's manufacturing jobs by Jonny Dymond, BBC to understand what has been going on in the last 10 years or so. USA's manufacturing jobs have goon down from 33% to 10% of the total work force and is still dropping during a single decade. Some 5,000,000 good paying ($71K/year) jobs have disappeared and are not coming back. Well paid lower class workers are no longer moving to the middle class and buying large gas guzzlers and large houses but loosing their job instead.

New factories are automated and create less jobs for better qualified local workers. This interim solution may last for one or two decades or until automated factories move out where wages are lower and/or markets are.

Further reduction (another 50% or even more) in the value of the US dollar may be required to remain competitive. That would make Asian products twice as expensive and would make local products more competitive.


HarveyD, what you say sounds true. But Micheal Moore noticed that GM had it's highest profits, yet started closing US plants and laying off US workers back in the 1980's.

Ronnie "..let the bulls run ..the deficit is big enough to take of itself" Reagan, the Bushes, and their Goldman-Sachs banker bosses.

Yet, Germany is making quality products, pays high wages, and has had universal health care since the 1800's, despite being crippled by world wars.

Of course, now, Germans invest in themselves and renewable energy instead of invading oil fields and occupying empire graveyards.

E-P, what skepticism?
The skepticism that's lacking when you tout the Frontline video referenced here, for one thing.

E-P, many trust PBS and I haven't seen any Japanese contradict the nuclear video.

I realize that over 400 nuke ships have sailed the seas, with only a few Russian accidents, but that doesn't mean economically. The French seemed to have made it work, but I don't know the details or if it applies to the future.

Even with(because of?) over fifty years nuke plant experience - commercial lenders just WON'T face the cost or liability of nuclear(w/o gov guarantees/payoffs).

I think modular nuclear has a chance of beating custom plant cost over-runs, but my brother works FEMA/nuclear responsibilities and the possible nuke proliferation horrifies him(even when about to retire from the prospect).

Michael Robinson

Kelly, here's an article which helps to explain why Nuclear power is considered to be economically problematic these days:

Quite eye-opening.

France doesn't have the NRC ratcheting costs in this manner and communities there actually embrace Nuclear power instead of rejecting it.


MR, has good French nuclear plant info.

Nuclear reactors were originally seen as a limitless economic power source, but it hasn't happened. Even the seemingly successful 58 French reactors could, with one major accident, go the same way as Japan's.

People stampede, Tea Parties happen..


Kelly....if people really knew how many died and are/were badly sick from coal fired power plants pollution in the last 100 years or so, they would crash the gates and try to destroy them.

The same could be said about the 101+ man-made chemicals currently responsible for obesity (at birth and latter on in life), diabetes and so many cancers in the last 100 years or so. Be careful of the new car smell etc specially if your pregnant. Ventilate the cab as soon as you start.

Michael Robinson

Kelly, thanks for the link. Very detailed and informative and I've only had the time to skim through the linked page. I think I may spend more time in the future with further reading from that site.

I think the important thing to understand is that trying to equate the Japanese and French Nuclear experience isn't a sensible thing to do. Of greatest importance is the fact that France is located in a geologically stable location, in stark comparison to Japan which is on the edge of the 'Ring of Fire' in a subduction zone. The chances of a natural disaster of the order of the 2011 Tsunami occurring in France is pratically nil.

Despite the failures with the (old) Fukushima reactor designs, it is important to remember that casualties were kept to a tiny number despite the fact that the site was engulfed by a catastrophic natural disaster. In a geographically stable zone such as France (and much of the rest of Europe), the risk of a loss of cooling in the same manner as at Fukushima is just about as close to zero as you can get.

Regardless, I'm personally sold on the technology of thermal spectrum MSRs - specifically the LFTR. The fact that investment and research into such promising technology was dropped 40 years ago in favour of Sodium-cooled fast reactors (which have all been failures and now dropped themselves) was a catastrophe, from my viewpoint. The new Gen III(+) reactors are certainly a great deal better than their older counterparts but the potential of MSRs is much greater - cheaper, much safer, more efficient, a fraction of the waste.

My favourite MSR stat is that the energy you could generate from burning the thorium within a ton of coal in an LFTR is much greater than you would get from actually burning a ton of coal in a standard power station!

Anyway, this point actually brings us back on topic as the only major country which is putting any effort at all into MSR research is... China! The MSR/LFTR was developed and operated at ORNL with the research funded by US taxpayers. A political decision by Tricky Dicky's administration 40 years ago led to MSR research being dropped but now the Chinese have picked it up again and stand to gain from the earlier US expense. Quite an apt comparison with the recent Chinese buy-ups of US-developed battery technology.

many trust PBS and I haven't seen any Japanese contradict the nuclear video.
The point is that no matter how true it is, it does not mean what you think it means nor how the antis have spun it.
commercial lenders just WON'T face the cost or liability of nuclear(w/o gov guarantees/payoffs).
Commercial lenders won't face the political risks of governments throwing up rule changes or outright bans (see Germany).  The only way to prevent that is for government to have skin in the game.

The US nuclear industry operates under ridiculous regulatory handicaps which roughly double its cost of doing business compared to e.g. China.  Take those away and provide regulatory certainty, and nuclear would grow like crazy; it's impossible to beat a fuel cost of 0.6¢/kWh in a plant which can operate at 100% capacity factor for a year at a crack.


Michael, that book chapter is out of date.  Watts Bar Unit 2 was re-activated and should go live this year, and construction has begun on Vogtle units 3 and 4.

You're right about China; IIUC, the Vogtle plants will use Chinese-made AP1000 components.


Other good news from China. A new 1350 Km very high speed e-train line was built in the last 3 1/2 years (one full year under estimates) at a cost of about $25B. It has a 113.7 Km bridge (longest on Earth) across a wide Bay to reduced the link total distance and it can do 435 kph. Close to 110,000 Km of new very high speed e-rail are being added in China in the current decade. That is about 100 times more than USA and Canada will do.

We are falling behind (in many fields) at a faster rate.

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