A123 Systems plans to double global battery manufacturing capacity to 1.5 GWh within the next three years.

The company operates factories in Michigan, Hangzhou and Changzhou (China) and all are now operating at capacity due to considerable growth in demand.

While the company is currently in the moddle of a US$100m capital expansion across its manufacturing network, it said existing investment plan must be “expanded substantially to satisfy much stronger market demand”. It currently forecasts growth of more than 50% in 2015.

The latest spend of an additional $200m will be in phases over the next three years with additional outlay anticipated as target markets develop further. The additional capacity is a variety of applications and new customer projects world wide including low voltage hybrids, plug-in passenger vehicles and several commercial vehicle programmes requiring multiple, lithium-ion chemistry and cell designs optimised for different applications.

“The strength of A123 has never been greater and we are honoured to be expanding our existing customer relationships and establishing new ones at the same time,” said CEO Jason Forcier.

A123 said key new business wins had “validated the company’s strategy”. In low voltage hybrids the 12V starter battery product line is continuing to expand and the supplier has also wond “multiple” contracts for 48V micro-hybrid applications.

In China, the company is capitalising on the growth of plug-ins in both passenger and bus segments. This has spurred additional R&D for high energy and power cell designs.