A123 Systems announced the planned expansion of its partnership with SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd. (SAIC Motor), the largest automaker in China. This announcement builds on the existing partnership between A123 and SAIC Motor that was established in 2009 with the formation of Advanced Traction Battery Systems (ATBS), a battery pack joint venture (JV) company. Under a new framework agreement, A123 and SAIC Motor are carrying out a feasibility study to define the business plan and required investment for a jointly developed battery manufacturing facility in China. The proposed manufacturing facility is expected to serve the local market, with an initial focus on transportation, enabling A123 to more quickly and cost-effectively meet increasing demand for advanced lithium ion battery technology.
"Since the formation of ATBS, A123 has proven to be a strong partner for SAIC, including as the supplier of lithium ion battery systems for three of our electric vehicles--the Roewe 750 hybrid electric sedan, the Roewe 550 plug-in hybrid electric sedan and the Roewe E50 battery electric vehicle," said Chen Zhixin, executive vice president of SAIC Motor Corp. "We believe there is significant opportunity for A123’s technology across several different markets in China, so expanding our partnership should provide SAIC with an even broader opportunity to benefit from the increasing demand for advanced lithium iron phosphate battery solutions."