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April 10th, 2009
By Kevin Bullis: This week, Chrysler announced that it will use batteries from A123 Systems in its planned electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the first of which will be available in small demonstration fleets by the end of the year. The automaker will use a modular battery system that the two companies developed together over the past three years.
Chrysler chose A123 in part because the company was looking for a supplier based in the United States, says Lou Rhodes, the vice president of advanced vehicle engineering at Chrysler. A123 is based in Watertown, MA, and is building factories in Michigan. The company's battery cells--the basic components of a battery pack--met Chrysler's performance and safety specifications, and the company was developing battery modules that could be easily adapted to fit different vehicles. This was important, Rhodes says, because the automaker plans to start selling several different electric vehicles at around the same time.
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