Komatsu heralds battery supplier acquisition

Komatsu is to accelerate its development of battery-powered construction and mining equipment through the acquisition of American Battery Solutions (ABS), a Detroit, US-based company that produces lithium ion batteries for commercial vehicles, buses and on- and off-road vehicles.

The price has not been disclosed and the acquisition, which is expected to close on 1 December, is being undertaken by Komatsu’s US subsidiary, Komatsu America Corp.

Photo of corporate leaders after Komatsu's acquisition of American Battery Solutions. Hiroyuki Ogawa, President and CEO of Komatsu (left) with Subhash Dhar, Founder, Chairman and CEO of American Battery Solutions (ABS). (Photo: Komatsu)

Komatsu said the deal will enable it to develop and produce its own battery-operated construction and mining equipment.

The first machines using ABS batteries will be mining equipment in North and South America, “where demand for electrification has been increasing”, said the OEM.

The company added that it will aim to expand the use of batteries in construction equipment and to establish a global supply system.

ABS will operate as a stand-alone business within Komatsu and continue to work on its current and potential customer activities in the commercial vehicle sector.

“The mining and construction opportunities provided through Komatsu will enable ABS to position itself as one of the world’s leading providers of battery systems in both on-highway and off-highway markets”, said Komatsu.

The development of battery powered machines will help Komatsu achieve its target of halving CO2 emissions from the use of its products by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), and for the company to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Taisuke Kusaba, CTO and president, Development Division, Komatsu Ltd, said: “After more than a year of evaluating potential battery partners, ABS stood out because of the depth of the team and their strong technical skill base, breadth of business and battery systems know-how, and battery manufacturing expertise for heavy duty markets.”

Subhash Dhar, founder and CEO of ABS, said, “This partnership will position ABS as a leading partner for electrification of industrial equipment and commercial vehicles globally…Komatsu’s acquisition of ABS is testament to the intellectual and manufacturing assets ABS has developed in the span of four years.”

Dhar thanked its initial investors, KCK Group, which he said was making “a successful exit after only 4 ½ years.”

ABS has nearly 200 employees and a headquarters and development centre in Lake Orion, Michigan, and a manufacturing facility in Springboro, Ohio.

The battery company recently launched a new transit bus battery pack for New Flyer Industries and it has secured long-term supply agreements with companies in markets including ‘last mile’ delivery vehicles and a large recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturer.

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