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SOUTHFIELD, Mich., May 5, 2008 – The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), an organization whose members are Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, today announced the award of a $12.5 million plug-in hybrid electric battery technology development contract to A123Systems Inc. of Watertown, Mass.

USABC awarded the contract in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which previously announced the award, pending agreement on all terms and conditions. The 36-month contract is for the development of battery cell technology for plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) applications.

USABC is a division of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR). Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the DOE, USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of fuel cell, hybrid and electric vehicles. 

A123Systems’ key program objectives for its lithium-ion battery technology will be to improve cell energy density to meet charge depleting requirements; reduce cell cost; test abuse tolerance for automotive applications; and demonstrate performance, cycle and calendar life.

“We are pleased to announce USABC’s award of this contract to A123Systems as part of USABC’s broad battery technology research and development program,” said Don Walkowicz, executive director of USCAR.  “The program is important to advancing both near- and long-term goals for plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle transportation.”

The new A123Systems contract follows research previously conducted with USABC to develop next-generation lithium-ion battery technology for hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) applications. The goals for the new three-year program include significant increases in power, reduction in system cost, improvements in abuse-tolerance and extended battery life. Since its initiation in December 2006, the program has seen progress in all of these areas.

The U.S. DOE's overarching mission is to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States. DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program works with industry to develop advanced transportation technologies that reduce the nation's use of imported oil and increase our energy security. Electrochemical energy storage has been identified as a critical enabling technology for advanced, fuel-efficient, light and heavy duty vehicles. 

Founded in 1992, the USCAR is the umbrella organization for collaborative research among Chrysler, Ford and GM. The goal of USCAR is to further strengthen the technology base of the domestic auto industry through cooperative research and development.

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