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    Big India automaker taps A123

    A123 Systems Inc., a Waltham company specializing in lithium ion batteries, said today that it will supply its battery packs to Tata Motors, a large automaker in India.

    Tata plans to use A123’s battery packs in Tata’s hybrid electric systems for commercial vehicles such as city buses. In a press release, A123 said that buses equipped with its batteries could be deployed during the second half of the year.

    Terms of the deal between A123 and Tata were not disclosed in the press release.


    Electric vehicles have been considered a big potential opportunity for A123, but the company has had some setbacks.

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    A123 recently cut its revenue forecast for 2011 by about 20 percent and laid off a few hundred employees at its Michigan factory after one of its biggest customers, electric car maker Fisker Automotive, unexpectedly reduced the number of batteries it had ordered from the company. Fisker was recently cut off from hundreds of millions in federal funds because it failed to meet the terms of its government loan.

    As a result, Tata’s decision to use A123 batteries should be welcome news for the company.

    “The addition of Tata Motors to our growing portfolio of blue-chip customers reinforces our position as the leading provider of lithium ion battery technology for the truck and bus segment,” Jason Forcier, vice president of A123’s Automotive Solutions Group, said in a statement.

    Chris Reidy can be reached at