A123 Systems has garnered plenty of attention for its lithium ion battery technology over the last several years, mostly here in the United States. The Massachusetts-based startup has now formed a partnership with IHI to market its batteries in Japan, a market that already has a number of domestic suppliers. According to IHI, it favors the A123 batteries because they are lower in cost.
A123's battery chemistry has an advantage over other suppliers because it uses no rare earth materials. Rare earths are becoming increasingly important because many batteries use them but 97 percent of current production is coming from China. The increased demand is driving up prices for these materials. IHI will be marketed toward plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles as well as ships. Here in the U.S., A123 has worked with both General Motors and Chrysler on development of plug-in vehicles.

[Source: Reuters]


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