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About The Pulse

The Pulse provides the opinions, insight and other musings of the A123 Systems brain trust, offering thoughts about a wide variety of topics, including battery technology, electric transportation, grid energy storage, energy policy and more.

And we want you to participate by commenting on our posts to add your own views (just remember that we are moderating your comments so please play nice!). Thanks for reading!


Andy Chu

Andy Chu, Ph.D., is the former vice president of marketing & communications at A123 Systems.

Angela Duren

Angela Duren is the low-voltage product manager for the Automotive Solutions Group at A123 Systems. 

Jeff Kessen director of product marketing with Automotive Solutions Group A123 Systems (2)Jeff Kessen is the director of global marketing for the Automotive Solutions Group at A123 Systems.  

Bill Mitchell vice president, business development A123 Systems headshotBill Mitchell is vice president of Sales and Marketing at A123 Energy Solutions.

Roger LinRoger Lin is director of product marketing at A123 Energy Solutions. 


Peddling the Thoughts, Opinions and General Musings of the A123 Systems Brain Trust


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Cycle Life Testing: The Lithium Ion Battery Ultramarathon

As the world turns its attention to the Olympic Games in London and athletes continue to deliver record-breaking performances, we’ve dug up some results that we think might impress in the lithium ion battery Olympics. 

The event is long-term cycling, which is the lithium ion battery equivalent of an ultramarathon. In 2006, two A123 cells were put on a 100 percent depth-of-discharge (DOD) test at 23 degrees Celsius at a 1C/1C charge/discharge rate. 

The results? After more than 20,000 full DOD cycles, the cells still have about 65 percent of their initial capacity remaining. To put this in perspective, if a battery is fully changed and discharged once per day, 20,000 cycles is equivalent to approximately 55 years! 

While these tests are being performed in a lab setting, the longevity of A123’s batteries has also been proven in real-world use. And considering it is reasonable for a ‘well-made’ lithium ion battery to last about 1,000 cycles before reaching 65 percent of its initial capacity, we think our cells are delivering a gold medal performance. 


A123 hero cell cycle life chart


As a comsumer, I want to know how far I can go on a battery charge and how long the battery will last. As I understand it, your lithium ion battery can go about 30 miles on a charge and last 5 years before being replaced. There is a company in Silicon Valley that modified the current lithium ion battery and can go 300 miles on a charge, is cheaper and smaller than your battery. GM bought the rights to it. Will we ever see your lithium ion battery go 300 miles on acharge?
Posted @ Tuesday, July 31, 2012 12:59 PM by ROBERT JABLONSKY
Only problem is cost per cell. In most cases, Li-Ion cell packs for EVs and even grid storage will not be cycled 10,000 times - and if they do, they might want to buy cheaper "commodity" cells over the higher priced AONE cells. 
What can AONE do to get the "cost per cycle" down to a point where the EV companies are beating down the doors to include AONE products? Chevy is making 3000+ cars per month now - it's a bummer to know AONE lost the Volt contract (and good too because of the welder failure). But if the AONE products were in the Volt now - the Livonia plant would be humming along with output. 
Unless customers are replacing pumped hydro with Li-Ion cells at a similar cost, the main issue with the goodness that is nano-phosphate is the price to the buyer. 
A great market for what you've described is Off-Grid Solar PV storage. AGM and Lead-Acid have a limited lifespan. This cell should be in Off-Grid homes everywhere, sitting behind windmills everywhere and sold as standby-systems for IT integration...everywhere. Li-Poly cells just can't do the number of cycles of LiFEPO4. 
Get that unit-price down and we'll be chatting here on the blog in 10 years.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 01, 2012 4:49 PM by John
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