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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
A123Systems - Hybrid Vehicle Batteries (Lithium Ion)
Image: © theirEarth News Media

A123Systems To Power The Chevrolet Volt

With all automotive manufacturers urgently looking to acquire lithium ion batteries for their future hybrid, fuel cell, and full electric vehicles, A123Systems, of Watertown, MA, U.S.A has quickly become a key player in the rapidly expanding lithium ion battery industry. Founded in 2001, by Yet-Ming Chiang, Bart Riley and Ric Fulop, A123Systems is a leader in lithium ion battery technology, using a proprietary nanophosphate technology built on nanoparticle material initially developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On August 9, 2007, General Motors awarded Germany based Continental Automotive Systems one of two contracts to develop, in conjunction with A123Systems, the lithium ion batteries for the new Chevrolet Volt hybrid vehicle. A123Systems is already the supplier of lithium ion batteries to DeWALTS new 36V professional power tool line, which come with enough power and duration for most contractors to do away with outlet powered tools.

A123Systems completed its acquisition of Hymotion on May 3, 2007, which is a Toronto, Canada based company that specialises in the BREM market for current Hybrids. BREM stands for Battery Range Extender Module, and Hymotion has developed a BREM lithium ion battery module for the Toyota Prius (using a123Systems Lithium Ion Batteries) that operates in conjunction with the old NiMH battery to give a Prius as much as 150 mpg on a short 20 mile commute. Hymotion is also developing BREM kits for other existing hybrids.

A123Systems is currently capital financed to the amount of $102 million dollars by a group of major investors that includes Alliance Bernstein, FA Technology Partners, General Electric, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, Motorola, North Bridge Venture Partners, OnPoint, Proctor and Gamble, Qualcomm, Sequoia, and YankeeTek. A123Systems has not announced any plans for an IPO, but there is significant growth in the company and they may need to go to the market for equity infusion if they have to expand quickly, so it is definitely a company to watch.

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