A123 Systems Scores Smith Commercial Fleet Deal

Earlier this week, A123 systems announced that the company had been tapped to provide high-capacity (up to 45 kWh!) li-ion battery packs for the upcoming Smith Newton 7.5 ton, medium-duty commercial truck – which already sees service in fleets owned by such diverse outfits as Pepsi, Staples, and the US Marines Corp.

One of my first articles for Gas 2.0 was about an initiative within CARB that threatened A123 in its early days, so it’s safe to say that I’m a fan, and genuinely happy to hear news about the company’s successes.  Add the 7.5 ton Smith Newton to the similarly-powered 2 ton Navistar eStar electric delivery vehicle in service over at FedEx, and you’ve got a compelling case for both EVs in large-scale fleet use and A123’s future success.

Full press release, below.

May 9, 2011 – A123 Systems (Nasdaq:AONE), a developer and manufacturer of advanced Nanophosphate® lithium ion batteries and systems, today announced a production agreement with Smith Electric Vehicles to supply battery modules for Smith’s portfolio of zero-emission all-electric commercial vehicles. A123 expects to begin shipping its 5kWh automotive-class prismatic modules to Smith for integration into battery packs in the second half of 2011.

“We selected A123 Systems as a strategic supplier of lithium ion battery technology because it offers cost-competitive, high-quality solutions that meet the performance, safety and life requirements for our electric vehicles,” said Bryan Hansel, president and CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles. “The highly scalable, building-block design of A123’s modules also enables us to build customized battery packs to meet individual customers’ range specifications. This allows our customers to maximize the performance of their electric vehicles while realizing a faster return on investment.”

According to Smith Electric Vehicles, A123’s battery technology will be first implemented in the Smith NewtonTM truck, an all-electric, 7.5 ton (16,535 GVWR)-15 ton (33,000 GVWR) vehicle that has been commercialized globally. Smith’s customers include Frito-Lay (a division of PepsiCo), Staples, Coca-Cola, Sainsbury’s and Dairy Crest, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps.

“The addition of Smith Electric Vehicles to our growing portfolio of blue-chip customers reinforces our position as a leading provider of lithium ion battery technology for heavy-duty and commercial transportation applications,” said Jason Forcier, vice president of the Automotive Solutions Group at A123. “The long-term economic, environmental and operational benefits of fleet electrification can only be fully achieved with the right battery technology, and we believe that the performance capabilities and modular design of our systems make A123’s solutions optimal for commercial transportation applications. We expect that our systems will enable Smith to deliver vehicles that offer significant fuel economy improvements and total cost of ownership advantages over trucks with conventional powertrains.”

Source:  AOL’s Translogic.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.