Hitachi Automotive Systems has chosen its Mercer County plant to make North American lithium-ion battery packs.

Hitachi recently finished construction of its newest 153,000 sq ft factory on the existing 85 acre Harrodsburg site.

In 2010 it announced expansion there creating 145 new jobs with an investment of US$68m.

The plant produces automotive electronics and, with the recent expansion, will now add battery control electronics which will be installed as part of the battery pack assembly. 

Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas president Mark Fujisawa said, "Hitachi is one of the few automotive suppliers with the capability to develop and produce our own lithium-ion batteries, electric drive motors and the electronic controls needed to manage electric powered automobiles.

"The North American production of these hybrid electric vehicle batteries complements production of hybrid vehicle motors which we announced last month."

Output of lithium-ion battery packs at Harrodsburg is expected to start in 2012 with the first product product shipment due in 2013.