Battery Maker A123 Systems Targets $250M in DoE Loans

Oct 21 2009 | 1:54pm ET

Massachusetts-based, lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems Inc is in “late-stage” talks with the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) over about $250 million in loans to support its U.S. manufacturing activities.

A123 CEO David Vieau told Reuters his company, which completed a successful IPO in September, will fire up its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Livonia, Michigan in mid-2010 and is now considering other potential production sites in that state.

“We’re in late-stage negotiations on loans from the Department of Energy to support our overall U.S. manufacturing programs,” Vieau said during an auto industry forum in Detroit.

The Livonia plant is expected to employ several hundred workers and produce batteries sufficient to supply 20,000 plug-in electric vehicles. The battery maker says it plans to invest $600 million in the plant.

A123 has already received DoE funding in the form of a $249.1 million grant in August – part of a competition for $1.5 billion in federal stimulus funds for companies producing advanced automotive batteries.

A123 also has manufacturing facilities in South Korea and China.

A123 was spun-out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The company develops batteries for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids and works with carmakers such as BMW, Chrysler and GM.

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