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A123 Systems opens auto battery plant in Michigan

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  September 13, 2010 11:35 AM

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A123 Systems on Monday opened its new lithium-ion battery plant in Livonia, Mich., which the company says is the largest of its kind in North America.

The plant is part of the Watertown company’s efforts to expand its production capacity to 760 megawatt hours per year by 2011 and meet the demands of automakers as they introduce all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

“Bringing this factory on line in just over a year is a testament to our technology innovation and strategic plan to ramp up manufacturing,” said David Vieau, president and CEO, in a press release.

Last year, the Department of Energy granted A123 Systems a $249 million grant as part of the national $787 billion stimulus package. The state of Michigan also offered the company $125 million in incentives to build the plant.

Fisker Automotive, a small California automaker, will use batteries from A123 Systems in an $87,900 plug-in hybrid called the Karma, which is expected to debut late this year. In 2009, A123 Systems lost a bid to supply batteries for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt to LG Chem, a Korean manufacturer that has built a plant in Holland, Mich. and will supply both General Motors and Ford. GM has built its own battery assembly plant outside Detroit that will use cells made by LG Chem.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
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Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
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