Lithium-ion battery-pack maker A123 Systems, whose customers include General Motors, Fisker and ALTe, will make battery packs for two new BMW hybrid vehicles this year. Both vehicles, the 3 Series Sedan and ActiveHybrid 5 hybrids, were unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The vehicles, which BMW will start selling this year, will be equipped with A123's 32113 cylindrical batteries. The ActiveHybrid 5 hybrid will feature fuel-saving functions such as an "ECO PRO" mode which shuts off the gas engine when the car is coasting and a stop-start function when the car isn't moving.

The vehicles mark an attempt by BMW to boost its presence in the U.S. hybrid vehicle market, where it's had little success. The German automaker sold just 391 of its 750 ActiveHybrid sedans and ActiveHybrid X6 SUVs combined last year.

A123 is hoping the BMW agreement marks a turnaround of sorts for a company that's lately been beset by challenges. The company, whose batteries are also in the Via extended-range plug-in trucks that are also being unveiled this week at the Detroit Show, said late last month that batteries it made for the Fisker Karma were faulty and could cause coolant leaks. In November, A123 laid off 125 workers at two Michigan plants because of Fisker's delays in launching sales of the Karma. In November, A123 also cut its 2011 revenue forecast because of fewer-than-expected Karma orders. A123 reduced its 2011 sales forecast by $45 million to between $165 million and $180 million. The battery maker, which was founded in 2011 and went public in September 2009, has reported losses every quarter since 2008.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does this only apply to the Hybrids for both the 3 series and the Active 5. I knew the 3 series was coming out with a hybrid in the fall of 2012 but I figured that was a 2013 model. I've seen reports that the 2012 3 series will have start-stop standard (sometimes called a micro-hybrid). Is A123 the battery producer for this as BMW sells 100k regular 3 series each year in the states. If not, what sort of battery is in the base 2012 BMW3?
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        BMW have been using a Bosch system since 2007: http://www.bosch-press.com/tbwebdb/bosch-usa/en-US/PressText.cfm?nh=00&Search=0&id=301
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        Sorry, just realised I did not answer the question. BMW uses the Johnson controls Advanced Glass Matt battery: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/start-stop-technology-not-just-for-hybrids-anymore/ My understanding is that this battery set-up has had hassles in lifespan for stop-start, and I would prefer lithium or a battery/capacitor combination such as Valeo use for the Peugeot/Citroens. Replacing the battery would not be particularly cheap.
      • 2 Years Ago
      founded in 2001 not 2011
      • 2 Years Ago
      with FISKER finding new money, AONE is going to move north!
      JeremyD
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lets not go on a hiring spree A123... BMW may still continue to sell limited amount of hybrids. So lets not jump the gun and hire 100s of employees in anticipation that BMW will sell 10s of thousands of hybrids using your batteries, then have to lay them off when they dont sell so well.
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      Notice that A123 is winning bids now, right and left. They got beat up and beat up by the press and lots of us on here for a while. But it looks like they are going to do just fine.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        This is great news for A123 - I mentioned this BMW deal almost a week ago though, ABG! http://green.autoblog.com/2012/01/06/a123-will-supply-battery-packs-for-via-extended-range-plug-in-tr/ I guess it makes sense they'd wait for an official announcement...
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        I hope they do but their quarterlies tell a different story. quarter of a billion dollar net loss per year now for a company that is nowhere in a startup phase. I am at a loss to explain how that bad decisions are being made consistently. they have really good products that are selling for very high prices yet they are losing quarter of a billion per year.. I don't know what's going on but it seems like an epic facepalm to me
      Ray Blackburn
      • 2 Years Ago
      A123 was founded in 2011 and went public in 2009? Neat trick, they must have some kind of time machine. They better start selling their batteries to some one or go bankrupt. They can keep selling them out the back door to Chinese holding corps to lowly garage converters. 3.4 volt, 20ah pouch cells can be had from China for 28 dollars each after paypal fees, customs and shipping. These batteries say Made in America yet none of them are? American tax subsidies corp, yet we have to purchase them from China? Something is really messed up here. Perhaps it is A123 answer to liabilities as it is impossible to sue Chinese corps if some one over charges and the fire department must terminate the charge with a fire extinguisher.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ray Blackburn
        @ Ray Blackburn, Here an idea that may shock and surprise you.....some people, I say, some people, have suggested that some of the PRC's budding entrepreneurs, may be a little careless when labelling goods produced. This could be that they don't wish to interfere with anything when stealing western technology, and copying products! Now, I know you won't believe that such a honest nation as the PRC would stoop to such behaviour,....but some people do say......
        Ray Blackburn
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ray Blackburn
        Okay, should have READ, "They can keep selling them out the back door to Chinese holding corps WHO THEN SELL to lowly garage converters.
      Ladson
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think A123 could develop a good secondary market by selling their cells on the open market. Their cells do something that other cells can't, i.e., discharge and charge quickly. If You want to build a car with outstanding acceleration , use the A123 cells and a high power controller to get up to about an 18c plus power surge to the motor. If want more information from people who are working with these cells see: www.evtv.me and watch Jack Rickard's tests.
      • 2 Years Ago
      with new wins in SAIC and TATA and GEELEY and FEDEX, AONE is going to move north
    • Load More Comments