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Highlights: 2200 employees, $24 million revenues, “green technology”
A123 Systems makes advanced lithium-ion battery technology for the transportation, power grid, and commercial/industrial products industries. The company was founded in 2001 based on novel nanoscale technology initially developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but the road to commercial success was paved in 2002 when A123 was awarded a $100,000 SBIR grant.
At that time, lithium-ion batteries could not meet the Department of Energy’s targets for electric or hybrid-electric vehicles. Specifically, the existing technology could not meet the energy and power density requirements while remaining low cost, safe under abusive conditions, and environmentally benign. A123’s breakthrough Nanophosphate™ lithium-ion battery chemistry showed tremendous promise as a game changing solution that could meet all of these criteria, and the company turned to U.S. Small Business Administration to fund the research and development necessary to bring its Nanophosphate technology to market.
A123 successfully leveraged its SBIR grant to take Nanophosphate from the lab to the market. The company has grown rapidly in the years since, and today, customers in all industries are taking advantage of the benefits offered by A123’s Nanophosphate design. Specifically, A123’s lithium-ion batteries are more powerful, much safer, and last longer, making them ideal for vehicle electrification and other markets.
A123 employs more than 2,200 people globally at most successful IPOs in 2009. In September 2010, A123 opened the largest lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in North America in Livonia, MI.
A123’s technology is enabling the electric vehicle revolution, and its customers include passenger carmakers Fisker Automotive, BMW, and SAIC Motor Co. Ltd, the largest automaker in China, as well as companies focused on the truck/bus market including Eaton, Navistar, and BAE Systems. In New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and other cities, transit buses powered by A123’s technology have collectively traveled more than 50 million miles.
A123 is also enjoying commercial success in the power grid industry, where its technology is helping to make existing services more efficient and cost-effective while also enabling the widespread adoption of wind, solar, and other renewable energy. Customers include AES, Southern California Edison, and DTE Energy. To date, A123 has shipped more than 35MW of its Smart Grid Stabilization Systems to its customers, making A123 the largest producer of lithium ion batteries for the power grid. A123’s technology made its debut in the commercial products industry with Black & Decker’s professional DeWALT 36V power tool line, which was truly a game-changer for that industry.
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