We haven't heard much from A123 Systems in recent months, other than the battery maker's public stock offering. Its best shot at a major automotive battery program seemed to be with Chrysler, until we found out that all those plug-in vehicles we saw in Detroit last January had been pretty much killed. With Chrysler uninterested for now, GM going with LG Chem and Ford opting for Johnson Controls-Saft, the fate of A123's plans for a Michigan battery plant are unknown.
For now, A123 seems to be looking to China. Last week, A123 announced a new joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industries Company (SAIC) to produce complete battery packs in China. The packs will be targeted at both plug-in hybrid and pure battery electric vehicles. The new venture will be 51 percent owned by SAIC with A123 holding the rest. SAIC has been planning hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of its Roewe 750 and 550 models and the new venture could potentially supply those