A123 Systems Company Overview

A123 Systems develops and manufactures advanced lithium-ion cells and systems “designed to help customers quickly and cost-effectively take engineering breakthroughs from conception to commercialisation.” A123 supply materials that have a nanoscale structure, allowing them to charge and discharge rapidly; ideally suited for use in electrical-grid storage and electrical vehicles.

Their designs contribute to making electric cars possible at mass-market prices, also providing an advantage over alternative high power technologies. A123’s key innovation is through designing nano-structured electrodes, resulting in lithium batteries which are more durable and safer than those found in laptops and mobile telephones.

With locations in Michigan, Massachusetts, Germany and China, A123 covers over 1 million square feet of manufacturing facilities; this space allows them to mass produce advanced battery cells and systems to satisfy a growing global demand.

In recent news, A123 has announced its strategy to double global manufacturing capacity to 1.5 GWh, all within the next three years; not to mention that the company is currently estimating an almighty growth of more than 50% this year. Due to the considerable increase of demand, the company’s global manufacturing hubs are now operating at full capacity, and is therefore in the process of a $100 million capital expansion across its manufacturing network in order to satisfy a much stronger interest in their products.

Due to the new investment programme, an additional $200 million will be integrated across the company over the next three years; with further investments predicted as target markets develop further. These additions plan to support various applications and new customer programmes worldwide; such as low voltage hybrids, plug-in passenger vehicles and many more commercial vehicle programmes. As demonstrated, it is clear that A123’s product portfolio is constantly expanding, offering numerous lithium-ion chemistries and cell designs developed for different applications.

Creasefield can provide the support and integration expertise to ensure that custom battery packs, using A123 products, are designed and manufactured to meet your final performance requirements.

A123 Systems History

A123 was founded in 2001 by Dr. Yet-Ming Chaing, Dr. Bart Riley and Ric Fulop. By 2009 the company already had around 2,5000 employees globally; with its headquarters originally at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At first, the company began by selling batteries solely to operate rechargeable power tools; though lately it has made a significant entry into the vehicle market with its first contract to supply battery packs for electric buses, resulting in commercial-vehicle manufacturers as its largest customer segment.

In 2010 A123 received a $249 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for building battery production facilities; however in 2011, the company was forced to discard 125 of their workers due to a decline in sales for Fisker’s vehicles. Despite this downturn, the company soon had more than 3,000 employees only a year later.

Today, as the world’s largest provider of lithium-ion batteries to electrical-grid operators, A123 Systems’ headquarters are based in Livonia, Michigan, employing up to 5,000 people worldwide.

CEO Jason Forcier joined the company in August 2009. Since then A123 has frequently received recognition, some of which include the company’s appearance in The Guardian’s ‘Global Cleantech 100’ list; also in 2011 A123 was selected to Technology Review Magazine’s list of ‘The 50 Most Innovative Companies.

A123 Batteries & Products

A123 Systems is a manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries and battery systems for the transportation, electric grid, and commercial markets. Their products are designed to provide high performance and reliable safety with a long life; in the transportation market, clients include:

  • General Motors, BMW, Daimler, Fisker Automotive and SAIC (the largest automaker in China).
  • A123 Systems also manufactures a lithium ion engine starter battery for micro-hybrids, leading providers for the truck and bus segment.

A123 systems supply lithium energy storage systems for customers including:

  • AES, Southern California Edison and DTE Energy.

With a constantly expanding commercial business, A123 Systems has more than 30 different customer programmes being developed, overall representing a customer stated demand of more than $100 million in 2013.