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A123 Systems Opens Battery Plant in Michigan

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A123 Systems on Monday opened the largest lithium-ion battery plant in North America, based on available data.

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

A123 Systems received a $249-million U.S. Department of Energy grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and $125 million in state incentives from the 21st Century Job Fund.

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 high-value 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, Mich., expected to come on line during the first half of 2011.

"Over the next several years, we expect to create thousands of jobs in greater Detroit and plan to continue our expansion in the area as we do our part in helping the U.S. emerge as a global leader in the production of advanced lithium ion batteries," said David Vieau, president and CEO of A123 Systems.Fisker Automotive will use batteries from A123 Systems to power its $87,900 Karma plug-in hybrid, which is expected to debut late this year.

A123’s customer list also includes BAE, Eaton, Navistar, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and other global automakers and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers.

The company has also delivered more than 20MW of its Smart Grid Stabilization Systems (SGSS) to customers worldwide, making it currently the largest producer of lithium ion batteries for ancillary services for the power grid, according to the company.

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