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Thursday, May 5, 2011

A123 signs on as sponsor of TTXGP electric motorcycle racing series

The company supplying batteries for the soon-to-be released Fisker Karma electric car is sponsoring the 2011 TTXGP North American Championship electric motorcycle racing series.

Massachusetts-based A123 Systems, which also has development deals with General Motors and BMW, is the first company to become a title sponsor for the TTXGP, which began on the Isle of Man in 2009 as a single race and expanded last year with a racing circuit in the U.S. and Europe.

A123 is title sponsor for the series kickoff May 15 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and a sponsor for the remaining three races in New Hampshire, Oregon and Virginia.

In a statement released Thursday, Robert Johnson, A123 vice president of energy solutions, said the company's sponsorship of the series is designed to "help promote its goal of moving vehicle electrification forward by showcasing the potential of high-performance technology like A123's lithium-ion battery systems."

A123 is the developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries. It was the recipient of a $249-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009. The money was used to build the country's largest lithium-ion manufacturing facility in Livonia, Mich.

Seven teams will compete in the A123 Infineon Round on May 15, including Mission Motors (based in San Francisco), Brammo Racing (from Ashland, Ore.) and the winner of last year's North American Championship, Lightning Motors (in Woodside, Calif.).

This year's TTXGP is the first to be sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Assn., as well as the International Motorcycling Federation, or FIM, North American union.

"We're not renegades anymore," said Azhar Hussein, founder of the TTXGP, which two years ago was the world's first electric superbike race on the Isle of Man. "The renegade is in the fold."

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