Within the next three years, A123 Systems plans to double the global production of its lithium-ion batteries to 1.5 gigawatt-hours.
In order to meet these new levels, A123 said it will need to expand its factories, which are already at maximum production levels.
“We’re at capacity at all of our production facilities,” said A123 CEO Jason Forcier. “The growth of our low-voltage business caused us to find ways to create more efficiencies as well as expand our operations.”
The company’s two plants in the Detroit area, which are manufacturing 3.3 million cells, will increase to 4.3 million cells. A123’s two other plants in China will build the remaining lithium-ion cells. Overall, A123 predicts that its global output will multiply from 750 megawatt-hours to 1.5 gigawatt-hours over the next three years.
“The additional capacity is planned to support a variety of applications and new customer programs across the globe including low voltage hybrids, plug-in passenger vehicles and several commercial vehicle programs,” the company said.
In China, A123’s factories manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electrified passenger vehicles and buses, while the Detroit facilities focus on 12-volt starter batteries for Mercedes-Benz. A123 has previously said that it wants to add a line of 48-volt microhybrid batteries, which will also be built in Detroit.
In order to support these production increases, A123 will spend more than $200 million on capital expenditures, adding to its already existing $100 million budget.
“While the company is currently in the midst of a $100 Million capital expansion across its manufacturing network, A123 has recognized that the existing investment plan must be substantially expanded to satisfy much stronger market demand for its products,” said the company.