A123 Systems LLC, a developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries and systems, has announced its plan to double global manufacturing capacity to 1.5 GWh within the next three years. The company operates manufacturing hubs in the state of Michigan, Hangzhou, China and Changzhou, China and all three are now operating at capacity due to considerable growth in demand. While the company is currently in the midst of a $100 Million capital expansion across its manufacturing network, A123 has recognized that the existing investment plan must be substantially expanded to satisfy much stronger market demand for its products. In fact, the company currently forecasts growth of more than 50 percent this year.
The new investment program of an additional $200+ million will be installed in phases over the next three years, with additional investments anticipated as target markets further develop. The additional capacity is planned to support a variety of applications and new customer programs across the globe including low voltage hybrids, plug-in passenger vehicles and several commercial vehicle programs. These programs collectively draw upon A123’s expanding product portfolio which offers multiple lithium-ion chemistries and cell designs optimized for different applications.
“The strength of A123 has never been greater and we are honored to be expanding our existing customer relationships and establishing new ones at the same time,” said Jason Forcier, CEO.
While A123 currently sees broad demand across its target markets, key new business wins have also validated the company’s strategy. In the field of low voltage hybrids, not only is the 12V starter battery product line continuing to expand but A123 has also received multiple production awards for 48V micro-hybrid applications. In China, the company is quickly capitalizing on the remarkable growth of plug-in vehicles in both the passenger vehicle and bus segments. These successes are driving additional R&D in high energy and power cell designs which will enter the market in the coming years.