A123 Systems Inks Supply Deal With India’s Tata Motors

3/1/12Follow @XconomyDET

A123 Systems (NASDAQ: AONE), the Watertown, MA-based manufacturer of lithium-ion battery packs with significant operations in Michigan, today announced a deal with Tata Motors to supply battery packs for its line of hybrid electric buses and other commercial vehicles. Tata Motors is India’s largest automaker.

“Strategically, this is very important for us since Tata has such a large global reach,” says Jason Forcier, vice president of A123′s Automotive Solutions Group, noting that many of the buses with A123′s battery packs will be on the roads in Europe by the end of the year. “It’s important for Michigan because we plan to make the cells in volume there.”

Forcier says that, as part of an overall ramp-up in A123′s business operations, the company has begun to hire back the 125 workers it laid off late last year. By the end of the second quarter of 2012, A123 intends to have all of the 125 workers back on the job.

The lithium-ion battery packs being built for Tata will use A123′s new prismatic cell technology, which Forcier describes as a much better packaging system due to its density and cost-effectiveness, and one that seamlessly configures with Tata’s hybrid electric powertrain.

Given Tata’s size and reach, Forcier says A123′s supply agreements with the automaker are further validation of the company’s “leading-edge technology,” and something A123 hopes will grow over time.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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