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April 05, 2007



A123 battery specs from these numbers:
165lbs = 75kg, 7.5kWh/75kg = 100Wh/kg
350hp ~= 261kW, 261kW/75kg = 3480W/kg

Looking at this further, this is most likely 990 ANR26650m1 cells (datasheet available on A123 website). 990 x 70g = 69.3kg with another ~6kg for housing. Specific energy for these cells is 108.43Wh/kg (69.3kg -> 7.514kWh).

The specific energy is better than last number I heard from Altair in conference call where they claimed 75Wh/kg for batteries going in 35kWh packs for Phoenix Motorcars.

Jim from The Energy Blog

Thanks Jbandy, I missed the datasheet or maybe I got distracted while looking for it.


A123Systems v. Altairnano

- specific energy: 108kWh/kg
- power density: 3300-3500W/kg
- cycle life: 1000+ cycles at 100% DOD, 10C discharge
- calendar life: ?
- temp range: -30°C to +60°C
- cost: ???


- specific energy: 75-90kWh/kg
- power density: up to 4000W/kg
- cycle life: 15000+ cycles at 100% DOD
- calendar life: 20+ years
- temp range: -60°C to +75°C (elsewhere -40°C)
- cost: today $2/Wh, volume $0.33-0.50/Wh


A123 batteries have better specific energy, which translates into lighter battery pack for target vehicle range. They've also been getting the big investments/endorsements ($15mil from USABC, eval/supply contract with GM, $40mil investment led by GE). They do seem to lag Altair batteries on cycle life and possibly (don't know) on calendar life.

The biggest question of course is cost.

Recent DOE presentation at CARB ZEV Symposium quoted USABC short term goal for Li-Ion at $300/kWh, long term $200/kWh. Altair today $2000/kWh and at volume as low as $330/kWh (near short-term target). For a 30kWh battery pack, which seems about the minimum for a practical BEV, $300/kWh translates to $9000/vehicle. For the 70kWh pack that is planned for Phoenix SUV, $21,000/vehicle. Even these low-end numbers still seem like high up-front costs that would discourage many buyers, but I have not done any payback calculations yet for cost difference between gas versus electricity + interest costs.

Anyone have any info on cost for A123 batteries?


My guess is that A123 batteries cost about $800/KWh in volume.

The new A123 format for the nanophosphate cylinder appears from the photograph to be about 45 mm x 200 mm. I wonder if this is a single cell.

Harvey D.


It seems that Chinese manufacturers have already offered lithium batteries at $133/Kwh (for the 3000 Beijing garbage trucks).

We should not be surprised to see Chinese Lithium batteries as low as $66.6/Kwh (bulk purchase) within 3 to 4 years.

A (made in China) 30 Kwh pack should cost about $2000 by 2010/11 and a (made in USA) equivalent pack about $6000 or $200/Kwh excluding chargers and controllers.

There are no economic reasons not to have affordable PHEVs by 2009/10 and lower cost one by 2011/12 or when batteries wholesale price come way down.


Considering an economy car version of a serial plugin hybrid would only need around 4 kwh of storage to cover the average trip of 25 miles between charging opportunity, A123 and altairnano batteries are both suitable as far as weight and cost.

But where can they be bought? The A123 battery is available at very high retail prices as a power tool battery. That's about it.

Carl Hage

jbandy writes:
A123Systems: 108kWh/kg - 3300-3500W/kg
Altairnano: 75-90kWh/kg - 4000W/kg

Wow! Suitable for light sabers!
[I'm sure you mean't Wh/kg but that seems high for power.]

By comparison, the Tesla battery system is 450kg with 50kWh/200kW, so that makes 111Wh/kg and 444W/kg.

Poking at specs of a few 18560 cells, they have ~200Wh/kg and power of ~250-415/W/kg.

Account Deleted

BTW, 0-60 in 1.5 seconds is almost 2 G's! There are some fun videos at the killacycle site.


Typo on the kWh/kg. Or maybe I was already asleep and dreaming when I wrote it. As far as the power goes, that's what A123 and Altair claim. Check out the links if you want to see for yourself.

Also, I've seen the same kind of specs on standard 18650 cells, but your numbers for Tesla though are probably skewed by the weight of their housing. They use 18650 cells and have a really heavy duty housing for safety reasons (450kg - 6831x46.5g = ~132kg for housing).


sorry for missing spelling your name, it must be time to get some sleep again.


Harvey D:
Can you say where you got your figure for $133/kWh for the Chinese garbage truck batteries from?

I haven't seen any specifics on these trucks or their battery packs. Only information I've seen is packs for 3000 trucks for $10mil. If the packs are 50kWh (saw you use this number on another site) then that's $66/kWh today, but if they are 10kWh then that's $333/kWh. Unless you know specifics on the packs, any cost estimates are pure speculation. It would also be nice to know something about the safety and cycle life of these packs too, since it is easy to imagine corners being cut here.


One other note, USABC just recently came out with new goals for batteries for BEVs. An RFP they drafted in March sets "min goal for commerialization" at <$150/kWh, long-term goal at $100/kWh. I assume that they set these goals with some sense of what might be reasonable, but also with intent to put pressure on the battery manufacturers. At those prices I think BEVs really could take off (40kWh = $6000/$4000).


It's interesting to look at the full set of specs and try to guess what battery chemistry they are favoring. The specific energy targets are well above current figures for A123 or Altair batteries and the low power/energy ratio targets don't capitalize on one of their strengths. I'd be curious what anyone else thinks?


This post pops up every day as "new" in bloglines. Any idea which end (rss sender or receiver) has the problem?

refurbished computers

I think with these batteries, they will be able to continue to improve their performance and establish new records.

cheap computers

These batteries have better specific energy, which translates into lighter battery pack for target vehicle range.

Dodge trucks

This is amazing… Congrats to A123 batteries for becoming the super power in the electric motorcycles. The A123 has already proved their efficiencies many times before but these are some thing exclusive. Carry on. Hope to see something more by these supreme authorities of batteries.

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I really can't believe that it can be this quick. It is great that technology has progressed so much.

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