Magna International's offshoot battery supplier division called Magna Steyr is ready to begin shipments of its lithium-ion phosphate battery packs to large truck maker Volvo.

Volvo intends to utilize the packs in several of its large trucks including city buses, refuse trucks, and heavy duty semi-trucks. The battery packs will be mounted in the roof of the trucks as part of a retrofit package. The cells for the batteries are manufactured by A123 Systems and pack a capacity of 4.8 kWh into the hybrid setup that will power a 94 hp electric motor.

Magna is betting that batteries are the source of power for the future of vehicles stating, "Electrification of vehicles is one of the future keys to success for Magna. We started seven years ago building hybrid demonstrators that show OEMs we are in position to build hybrid cars. In the future and beyond, we see huge market potential."

In this instance, Magna acts as a supplier helping convert Volvo trucks to hybrids, but with the Ford Focus EV scheduled for production in 2011, Magna built the powertrain from the ground up as the work was contracted out by Ford.

The company is working on securing contract with additional manufacturers to convert vehicles to hybrid. They are currently in talks with several makers. As Magna stated, "We're in contact with European, American, and Asian customers." No additional details about future possibilities with OEM manufacturers were released at this time.

Magna is constantly working on new battery technology. Though not discussing details, the company confirmed that it is working on other battery chemical compositions aside from the lithium-ion phosphate technology in use in the Volvo hybrid trucks.

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