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Largest lithium ion battery plant on the continent opens in Livonia

The largest lithium ion battery factory on the continent now belongs to Metro Detroit after A123Systems opened its newest facility in Livonia this week.

With a capacity of 600 megawatts (which means it can produce lithium ion batteries for 30,000 vehicles annually) when fully operational, the plant is believed to be the largest of its kind in North America. A $249 million U.S. Dept of Energy grant received last year made possible the opening of the 219,000-square-foot facility.

"When it comes to hiring there are a lot of highly skilled engineers, management, and laborers here," says Andy Chu, vice president of marketing & communications for A123 Systems. "There is a highly skilled labor pool here."

The plant will manufacture prismatic cells and systems. These are seen as key components of the lithium ion battery, which is the primary piece to the next generation of electric vehicles made by the likes of Fisker Automotive. The factory will facilitate the production process, R&D, and manufacturing of the lithium ion battery's components, cell and module fabrication, and the final assembly of complete battery packs ready for vehicle integration.

A123 Systems is based in Massachusetts and has a large engineering facility in Ann Arbor. It plans to open a coating plant in Romulus early next year, a move made possible by the federal grant and $125 million in state tax incentives from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Andy Chu, vice president of marketing & communications for A123 Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke
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  • A123 Systems
    3850 Research Park Dr
    Suite A
    Ann Arbor, MI 48108 Website
    Founded in 2001, A123 was born out of research labs of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was funded initially with a $100,000 grant from the US Department of Energy. Among the companies using A123 batteries, battery systems and technology ...