First Lithium-Ion Car Battery Factory to Open in France

plug-in hybrid prius

Image courtesy of donibe via flickr

John Reed in the Financial Times reports that Johnson Controls and Saft, a U.S. supplier group and French battery producer, respectively, are set to break ground on a factory dedicated to the exclusive production of advanced lithium-ion batteries for cars. The facility, which will supply a range of automakers, including GM, Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, is based in Nersac, France; its yearly production capacity will initially be 5,000 battery packs with the option to scale up if demand warrants it.

Lithium-ion battery packs, which are about half the size and weight of nickel-metal hydride batteries, will power the next generation of hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The factory plans to expand its operations over time to supply other facilities around the world, particularly in Asia. This follows recent announcements by Toyota, GM and Nissan that they plan on launching their own plug-in and electric vehicles within the next few years.

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