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Chrysler LLC has signed A123 Systems as its battery supplier in preparation for putting electric vehicles on the road next year.

A123 will supply lithium-ion batteries and with Chrysler will develop the battery modules and packs for use in a family of electric and range-extended electric vehicles.

Chrysler has test vehicles of its first-generation of electric vehicles on the road now, including the all-electric Dodge Circuit that can run 150 miles or more on batteries and is listed as joining the company’s product lineup in 2010 in the restructuring plans Chrysler filed with the government as a condition of receiving federal aid. Other vehicles the batteries could be used for include the range-extended Jeep Patriot and Wrangler Unlimited as well as a Chrysler Town & Country minivan and the 200C midsize sedan, which can travel 40 miles on electricity alone before a small gasoline engine acts as a generator to maintain the charge of the lithium-ion batteries to travel another 400 miles.

All three Chrysler brands will have electric vehicles on the road by 2013, said Doug Quigley, who heads Chrysler’s electric vehicle division known as ENVI.

Chrysler’s strategy is to develop a modular battery pack that is scalable for a wide variety of vehicles to keep cost down.

Massachusetts-based A123 plans to add a facility in Michigan to supply General Motors Corp. and a growing list of automakers that now also includes Chrysler and potentially the Think brand of tiny Swedish electric cars.

“This is a great example of two American companies working together to put cutting-edge technology on the road,” said Frank Klegon, Chrysler executive vice president in charge of product development.

David Vieau, chief executive of A123, called the collaboration, “proof that American innovation is alive and well.”

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called this latest partnership a milestone “at a critical time in the automotive industry and in the state of Michigan.” She applauded the two companies for joining forces “to develop and produce advanced technology in Michigan (and) will create new jobs in the state, deliver benefits to consumers and contribute significantly to bringing more environmentally friendly vehicles to market.”



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