Electric Car Battery Maker Goes Bankrupt

AP Images
October 16, 2012

A government-financed electric car battery maker filed for bankruptcy today, dealing yet another setback to President Barack Obama’s flawed alternative-energy campaign, Bloomberg reports.

A123 Systems Inc., which made rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, "listed assets of $459.8 million and debt of $376 million as of Aug. 31 in Chapter 11 documents filed today."

The company "received a $249.1 million federal grant in 2009 to build a U.S. factory" but "it needed a financial lifeline after struggling with costs from a recall of batteries supplied to Fisker, the plug-in hybrid luxury carmaker."

According to Bloomberg:

President Barack Obama called A123 Chief Executive Officer David Vieau and then-Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm during a September 2010 event celebrating the opening of the plant in Livonia, Michigan, that the company received the U.S. grant to help build.

"This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America -- an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars," Obama said in the phone call, according to a transcript provided by the White House. "When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America."

Electric-vehicle sales since 2011 totaled fewer than 50,000 through September, just 5 percent of Obama’s target to have 1 million such vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.

As of this morning, A123 reached an agreement to sell its automotive business assets to Johnson Controls, Inc. for $125 million, reports the Wall Street Journal.