A123 Systems announced today that it has applied for $1.84 billion in loans from the Department of Energy to help contribute to the $2.3 billion required to pay for the construction of battery plants in the United States. In what should be good news for Michigan, the first of the facilities A123 is planning would be located there. If A123 gets the funds, it plans to have enough cell manufacturing capacity in place by 2013 to support 5 million hybrid vehicles or half a million battery electric vehicles. The factories would produce employ 14,000 people when fully operational.

A123 claims to be working with seven different automakers right now on 19 different vehicle programs. Those include General Motors for the plug-in hybrid Saturn Vue and the Chevy Volt and Chrysler with its electric programs through its ENVI division. A123 is also working with Better Place on its charging and battery swap network programs. There's no word so far on when a decision on the application might be made or construction might start.

[Source: A123 Systems, Detroit Free Press]

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