A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of advanced Nanophosphate lithium iron phosphate battery packs, has launched a field campaign to replace battery modules and packs that may contain defective prismatic cells produced at the company’s Livonia plant.
A123 Systems expects to start shipping replacement battery packs and modules to affected customers this week. The company said the cost of replacing the equipment will be about $55 million, and will be paid for over the next several quarters.
A flaw in the manufacturing process led to the creation of defective packs that could cause them to fail. An incorrect calibration of one welding machine caused a misalignment of certain components in a battery cell. That misalignment can cause a break in the electrical insulation and a potential short.
The defects were not found in prismatic cells manufactured outside the Livonia factory, the company said.
There are five auto companies affected by the defect, including Fisker Automotive which purchases large battery packs for its Karma plug-in hybrid luxury car. In the case of the Karma, the defect can prevent the car from starting after the driver parks the car but not a sudden loss of power, A123 said.