In a recent post, I wrote about one of A123 Systems’ (A123)Â new products -Â the HymotionÂ Plug-in Conversion Module, which can convert the Toyota Prius into a plug-in electric vehicle and boost its mpg to over 100 for the first 30-40 miles of driving.
Last month saw more good news for the Boston area battery maker.Â First, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced that it had signed a three-year deal with A123 to support the company’s efforts to develop more powerful and longer lasting batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles.
Under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, NREL and A123 will research new techniques for improving thermal management in transportation batteries.
A123 also got a boost for a different application of its battery technology – using batteries to get more power out of the electric grid.Â CNET recently reported that some electric utilities (unnamed for now) have made a deal with A123 to use its lithium ion batteries to help stabilize the grid (see the greentech media story).
Several of A123’s patents and applications, including U.S. Patent No. 7,348,101, U.S. Patent No. 7,261,979Â and U.S. Application Pub. No. 2007/0166617, cover various aspects of lithium ion battery technology.Â Â A123’sÂ patented battery technology reduces the amount of time necessary for charging andÂ loses relatively little capacityÂ and powerÂ over numerous charge/discharge cycles.Â
The continuing good news for A123Â indicates thatÂ the company is widely viewed as a winner.Â Significantly for A123, it also demonstrates the versatility ofÂ its technology for use in a variety of applications.