A123 Systems Announces New Manufacturing Facility In The Czech Republic

APR 4 2016 BY MARK KANE 14

A123 Systems

A123 Systems

A123 Systems didn’t had much luck with plug-ins in the early beginnings of the tech several years ago (Fisker, Chrysler ENVI program, failed attempt to supply THE Chevrolet Volt), but under the Wanxiang Group, the company seems to not only back in business, but growing steadily.

Most recent announcement is for a new manufacturing facility to be opened in the Czech Republic, in the city of Ostrava (Europe).

A123 Systems intends to produce lithium-ion batteries at this factory, but for low voltage systems (12 V starter batteries and 48 V batteries for micro-hybrids). The site will begin with a capacity for over 600,000 units (of undisclosed amounts) annually.

Because of the R&D center in Germany, we believe that A123 was awarded significant orders as a result from for German manufacturers like Daimler (Mercedes S Class 550H).

With having a manufacturing facility in Europe, there is always chance that A123 Systems would expand to further plug-ins  at some point in the future.

“The company currently operates manufacturing facilities in Hangzhou, China, Changzhou, China and southeastern Michigan in the United States. The opening of the new facility is the result of a substantial surge in European market demand for low voltage automotive products, a strategic focus of A123. The new plant will complement A123’s existing technical center in Stuttgart, Germany.

With the assistance of CzechInvest, A123 will open the manufacturing plant in Ostrava and expects to begin production in the second half of 2016. This European location will establish regional assembly of A123’s advanced 12V Lithium-ion starter battery and next generation 48V battery and cost effectively support the growing market demand. By providing an alternative to traditional lead-acid technology with an environmentally conscious solution that delivers lower emissions and increased fuel economy benefits, A123 has strengthened its market leadership for micro-hybrid battery systems.”

“The Ostrava facility will be located in an industrial park operated by CT Park, with adequate opportunity for expansion as the business continues to develop. The system assembly capacity in phase one of the factory will exceed 600,000 units per year and the company expects to reach this level of production in the next few years based on business it has already been awarded.”

Jason Forcier, CEO said:

“Our new business wins in the micro-hybrid market have validated A123’s strategy and given us an opportunity to expand our global manufacturing footprint. Our recently announced technology advancements related to high power chemistries have resulted in over $1B in new low voltage business awards globally in the last 15 months. We are honored to be the market leader in this space.”

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14 Comments on "A123 Systems Announces New Manufacturing Facility In The Czech Republic"

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I wonder if those cells can be used to rebuild 2014 SparkEV battery pack. Since 2015+ are LG, 2014 is unique in having that battery, and warranty / long term prospect might help if new cells can be used.

deborah crazy train flower power

Yeah…I agree with you guys..Lead and acid batteries need to be done with…Good idea SparkEV..

I’d use used cells from crashed Spark EVs as better matching.
I wouldn’t even replace a cell but the whole module if that is doable as fairly cheap and gives you spare cells if you want to fix at that level.
on ebay they are running $200/kwhr but fairly rare. Volts, Leaf’s are much more common.
A123 has never been cost effective at 30% or more higher than Tesla or LG.
If they were smart and they were not as they went bankrupt, they would have done what Tesla did and make EVs to get a market.
Tesla really wanted to just sell batteries, EV drivetrains but with little auto industry demand, it made EV to put it’s produces in.

There are only so many crashed 2014 SparkEV to go around while 100% of them will need new batteries. The time you need the batteries are most inopportune and may not have the time to wait for a major crash victim.

By the way, new SparkEV batteries cost over $20K as seen by dealer web site. Since there’s no A123 anymore, there’s a debate whether this price will ever go down. That’s why it’d be great to be able to use new cells for rebuild.

If not, and prices don’t go down, 2014 SparkEV dead battery = crush time. Maybe that’s what GM intends to happen, seeing what they did to EV1.

And deborah “the crazy train”, LOL!!! I’m not a fan of CA high speed rail, aka crazy train.

There’s no need to be so dramatic.
GM has a workaround for pack servicing on the 2014 Spark with the orphaned A123 cells. If your pack fails before 2024 it won’t cost you a red cent. -WOT

Not true. If you drive over 100K miles before then and battery fails, you have to pay for it. Then there are other situations that warranty may not cover as well as after 2022 (it’s 8 year warranty).

Nice. We need to leave lead acid behind.

Lead acid is a 100yr.old plus technology, Slightly outdated , although it has served us well, it’s past due time to advance forward.

Lead is great for big grid batteries lasting 20 yrs and only $50/kwhr. With a reformer onsite they have unlimited life.
If we don’t make a use for all that lead replaced by lithium it’ll pollute and we definitely don’t want that so we need a way to keep lead worth decent money, $5-10/battery so they will be collected.

Low energy density and high cost were always problems for plug-in EV use. Robustness, tolerance to repeated fast charge / discharge cycles and tolerance to extreme temperatures make it great for power tools and starter batteries.

It’s great that they seem to understand their best target market now. Even BEVs still need small 12V battery, so the market won’t die with ICE cars.

Li-ion 12v starter batteries? Is that a first?

There have been predictions that li-ion prices would fall low enough that the tech could actually compete with lead-acid starter batteries, but I think this is the first report I’ve seen that any company was actually putting those into commercial production.

Has been around for some years now (e.g. http://www.super-b.com/en/), but I don’t know if any car manufacturer uses li-ion as stock starter battery.

These have become very popular as replacement batteries for light aircraft where every lb counts. I know some people have used these as replcement battery for regular car and it works just fine, but the weight saving isn’t really significant.

If you want one, here it is.


These were made in the US factory. Kraig is acting as a go-between, because he doesn’t want to see these go to the landfill. I have met him several times. He is passionate about saving the planet…so at a disadvantage as a capitalist.

Has been around for some years now (e.g. http://www.bullsbattery.com), but I don’t know if any car manufacturer uses li-ion as stock starter battery.
These have become very popular as replacement batteries for light aircraft where every lb counts. I know some people have used these as replcement battery for regular car and it works just fine, but the weight saving isn’t really significant.