A123 Opens Largest Li-Ion Plant

A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE), a developer and manufacturer of lithium ion batteries and systems, on Monday announced the grand opening of what it says is the largest lithium ion battery production facility in North America.

The new plant in Livonia, Michigan, is expected to expand A123’s manufacturing capabilities by up to 600 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year when fully operational, contributing to the company’s plan to expand global final cell assembly capacity to more than 760 MWh annually by the end of 2011.

The opening of the Livonia factory comes just over one year after A123 received a $249 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

A123 will focus on manufacturing prismatic cells and systems at the new 291,000-square-foot Livonia facility. The factory is designed to enable the complete production process, including research and development, manufacturing of components, cell fabrication, module fabrication and the final assembly of complete battery packs ready for vehicle integration.

As part of its continuing U.S. manufacturing ramp up, A123 also plans to open a coating plant in Romulus, Michigan, expected to come on line during the first half of 2011. In addition to the DOE grant, the company received $125 million in state incentives from Michigan as part of its 21st Century Jobs Fund to help finance these manufacturing facilities.

A123’s list of customers includes BAE, Eaton (NYSE: ETN), Fisker Automotive, Navistar (NYSE: NAV), Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) (600104.SS) and other global automakers and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers.

The company’s technologies are also being implemented in a wide variety of commercial products, and the company has also delivered more than 20MW of its Smart Grid Stabilization Systems (SGSS) to customers worldwide, making A123 a major producer of lithium ion batteries for ancillary services for the power grid.

Website: http://www.a123systems.com     
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