A123Systems To Supply Lithium Ion Engine Start Batteries To Cessna Aircraft Company

September 20, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

A123Systems Inc. announced that it will supply Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. company, with a lithium ion engine start battery. Under the terms of the agreement, the batteries will be used in the Cessna Citation fleet of aircraft, Cessna’s business jet product line.

A123Systems’ battery technology is said to be uniquely applicable to both commercial and very light jets (VLJs), bringing numerous benefits to jet engine start and auxiliary power unit (APU) start applications. Said to offer a significant weight reduction over existing aircraft batteries, the company’s lithium ion technology is intended to replace the currently used Lead Acid and NiCd batteries. A123Systems’ drop-in replacements are based on existing aircraft battery designs, allowing OEM aircraft manufacturers a clear path to a lithium ion solution. Said to be inherently safer than other lithium ion chemistries, the batteries offer minimal maintenance over extended life.

"Teaming up with the world’s largest manufacturer of business jet aircraft enables us to quickly bring to market a viable, cost-effective long-term solution for the aviation industry," said David Vieau, President and CEO of A123Systems. "This successful effort further validates the value our batteries offer to all modes of transportation including hybrid vehicles and aircraft."

The battery packs have a central monitoring system for in-cockpit diagnostic reporting and integrated intelligent balancing circuitry. Additionally, the cells offer a wide range of operating temperatures to meet rigorous aviation requirements.

A123Systems is scheduled to deliver its aviation packs to Cessna late in the second quarter of 2008. The exact Citation airframes to use the lithium ion batteries from A123Systems are yet to be determined.