when i first became interested in using the a123 cells to build a pack for my bike i contacted them and tried to convince them that it would be in their best interest to make the developers packs available for a more reasonable price than the $18-$20 per cell they get for the developer's kits. I tried to buy 100 or even 1000 of the 6 cell kits and they would not come down on the price.
i argued that i could get the cells for $9 each new by purchasing dewalt packs on ebay, disassembling them, and throwing away perfectly good bms units and packaging. i asked them "how many cells do i have to buy to get them for the same $9 each?" they refused to give me a price unless i would commit to a large number as an annual requirement. i do not lie to manufacturers and tell them i will buy a million cells if they will give me a deal on 100. i don't sleep well if i behave that way....
a123 has a valid argument; they do not want some fly-by-night operation to buy a bunch of their cells, put together a shoddy product that fails or injures someone, and disappear, leaving a123 with a bad reputation.
they are starting out by selling the cells to rc users who will abuse them and not complain if one fails. they are supporting this use, but at this time they do not seem to be interested in the ebike market. it is certainly true that this industry has had some problems with manufacturers who rushed to the e-bike market with immature products. it would be a shame if gm or chrysler decided not to use a123 cells in their products because some fool sold a bunch of poorly designed ebike batteries that developed a negative reputation.
we can only hope that somebody at a123 will realize that we are a viable market, and get together with somebody in the ebike business who is not too greedy to build packs for us at a price we can afford.
I do not approve of this group any longer and regret what it has become. I could once share ideas here freely that is no longer possible.