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New lithium-ion technology to increase range, decrease cost of EVs

The supplier of lithium-ion batteries to BMW, General Motors and Fisker has developed new cell technology that could extend the range and cut the price of electric vehicles from as early as next year.
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A123 Systems CEO David Vieau told Bloomberg production of the new ‘nanophosphate EXT’ cells, which operate more efficiently and offer a more stable full-charge range in extreme hot and cold weather conditions, would begin in 2013.

Vieau said the new cells would do away with the need for hybrids, plug-ins and EVs to be equipped with systems to maintain consistent battery temperatures, subsequently reducing vehicle weight, complexity and cost.

Shares of the Massachusetts-based company rose 52 per cent yesterday – the largest increase since its 2009 initial public offering – on the back of the announcement.

A123 is best known for producing the lithium-ion batteries that power the Fisker Karma, and earlier this year was forced to recall the cells supplied to Fisker due to a manufacturing defect that could cause the batteries to short circuit.

BMW’s ActiveHybrid 3, ActiveHybrid 5 and ActiveHybrid 7 sedans are all equipped with A123 lithium-ion cells, and Chevrolet will also employ the company’s batteries in its Spark EV, which will enter small-scale production in early 2013.