The batteries work better at both high and low temperatures than the company's current batteries. That could make them useful in cars and as backup power for telecommunications towers, A123 says. The new battery design might also allow automakers to simplify or eliminate the liquid cooling and heating systems used in some electric vehicles.
A123 isn't saying much about the details of the new technology, except to say it involves tweaks to both of the battery's electrodes as well as the electrolyte. The new batteries still use a type of lithium-iron phosphate, the chemistry used in A123's conventional cells, and are expected to cost about the same amount to make, says Bart Riley, A123's chief technology officer. He says the new cells will be in commercial production by the beginning of next year.