DETROIT -- A123 Systems Inc., a growing U.S. lithium-ion battery company, says it has received a contract to provide battery packs for a General Motors global vehicle program.
Jason Forcier, vice president for A123's Automotive Solutions Group, said that A123 will be supplying "thousands to tens of thousands" of battery packs to GM. Forcier said A123's engineering will be completed at the end of 2012. The vehicles will go on sale sometime after that.
He declined to identify the vehicles in the program. He also declined to say whether the GM vehicles are electrics or hybrids. GM confirmed the contract this morning in a statement.
A123 provides the battery pack for the Fisker Karma, an electric car that went on sale in July. The company also makes large battery packs for electric delivery vehicles produced by Navistar and Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp.
Forcier said development programs are under way with BMW AG and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.
An electric or hybrid battery pack is a complex and expensive system, often liquid cooled, with sensors and computer controls to manage charging and discharging.
The GM battery packs will be produced at A123's plant in Livonia, Mich. Forcier expects the contract eventually will require adding hundreds of employees, but he was not specific.
He said A123's lithium ion chemistry, developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, combines high energy density and long life. The company was founded in 2001 and has about 3,000 employees.
The Chevrolet Volt's battery packs are manufactured by GM using battery cells provided by LG Chem Power Inc.