A123 Systems Powering A Sustainable Future: Strategizing in the Advanced Battery Market

A123 Systems Powering A Sustainable Future: Strategizing in the Advanced Battery Market (pdf abstract)

Purchase the full report on (Case study #1-429-302) – published 02/2013, 24 pages.
Developed under the supervision of Andrew Hoffman by graduate students Matthew Rife, Miguel Sossa-Mardomingo (Erb ’13), Lukas Strickland, James Weng and Ye Yue

Description: A123 Systems successfully went to market with new technologies that had the potential to revolutionize both the energy storage and electric battery industries. It had drawn critical acclaim from President Barack Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, the automotive industry, the environmental and scientific communities, and Wall Street investors. After opening the largest hybrid vehicle battery manufacturing facility in North America, CEO David Vieau needs to evaluate the road forward, which is fraught with uncertainty. Should he try to gain a foothold in established commercial battery markets or pursue the company’s current mission of being the top supplier for grid storage and hybrid vehicles? Was he expanding too fast or not fast enough? Was Asia a potential avenue for future growth, a source of menacing competition, or both?

Teaching Points: After discussing this case, students should be able to:

  • Analyze the risks associated with clean-tech start-ups and the battery industry
  • Evaluate the role that the U.S. government and regulation plays in incentivizing the industry
  • Identify the vulnerabilities related with buyer/supplier relationships