A123 System's bankruptcy created a quite a stir in the plug-in vehicle industry. Now, Fisker is asking the judge that the bankruptcy auction be delayed by a minimum of 30 days so that creditors' value "may be realized through higher and better offers." Fisker is involved in A123 because the battery maker is the sole supplier of battery packs to the Fisker Karma. The deal now means that A123 has $100 million worth of obligations that "give rise to substantial unsecured claims" in Fisker's favor, according to court papers filed today, Bloomberg reports.

Fisker said it would also file an emergency motion to challenge "debtor-in-possession loan." Johnson Controls is set to take over A123's automotive assets, and Fisker said it is not trying to stand in the way of an asset sale in theory. It just wants the delay because "various protections" that Johnson Controls has "are unnecessary, excessive, and counterproductive to a successful sales process."

Fisker attorney Gregg Galardi said the bankruptcy process was "crafted" to benefit Johnson Controls and that, "The best interests of the estates, however, are not well served through a hasty and unfair sale process designed to ensure that JCI is the ultimate purchaser." In other words: don't let all this good stuff go cheaply.


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  • 20 Comments
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      The U.S. Trustee assigned to the company also filed objections to the $7.75 Million "breakup fee" that JC would get if the deal for any reason falls through. So, it appears the U.S. government is on Fisker's side in this.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        @Rotation: I would be interested to know if anyone at all has got a response from that in recent months. Having a button is nice, but it does not mean we have a system which works.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @ DaveMart, Rotation, Yeah, either the tip button doesn't work, or whoever responds to it's asleep !
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        LTAW, Marco: ' The FutureShip engineers took a completely new course and approached the matter in a holistic way: from fuel-protection, through energy conversion and storage, and up to optimization of the ship design. For example, the surplus electricity generated by wind turbines in northern Germany and Denmark is to be used to produce hydrogen. This can be transformed back into electrical energy by the fuel cells on board the ship in order to supply the electrical pod drives. Any excess electricity is stored in batteries to cover peaks in demand. Modern hull lines, optimized propeller shapes and efficient procedures in port play a vital role in reducing the overall energy needs. For GL, this design project was an ideal platform to show what is already possible today with modern – and above all, available – technology. “Short-sea applications are simply predestined for our zero-emission concept,” says Fridtjof Rohde, development engineer at FutureShip. The energy requirement of the Scandlines ferries is lower; moreover, it is possible to bunker more often. On the other hand, ships that have to cover large distances would be much more difficult to “get green” – the total energy requirement is too high.' http://fuelcellsworks.com/news/2012/10/26/the-future-of-the-fehmarn-link-zero-emission-ships/ (Apologies to others for OT. No tip system and no PM make this the only way of communicating. Please ignore if not interested)
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @ DaveMart Well, it's only a Ferry, but its a very exciting start ! FutureShip are great guys, very accessible and a lot of commercial commonsense in design. It's exciting to think that just four weeks of operation by this small ferry, will save more in atmospheric (and maritime) pollution, than has been saved by all the EV built to date ! Germanischer Lloyd is a fascinating organization. I have had the privilege of attending a conference where Günter Herz was speaking. A fascinating man, with a great many practical ideas for improving the environment. (not all billionaires are evil ! :) ) FutureShip also design vessels to run on LNG. We are trying to persuade the Australian government to provide incentives for maritime LNG refueling facilities. (as opposed to spending money on large delegations to attend pointless talk-fests, with no positive results!). But thank you for the post and links ! All we can do is plug away, raising awareness !
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I saw that. I really liked the vertical windmills onboard the ferry. If all goes well, maybe in the near future I can Captain a fuel cell ferry around our islands! That'd be a nice relaxing retirement.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          There's a tip system. It says "tip us" right there in the top line of this page.
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fisker's plan for success: 1. Piss off your new supplier. 2. ??? 3. Profit!
      • 2 Years Ago
      A123's LFP based battery tech is certainly promising; an expert I recently had discussions with said LFP batteries are quite ideal for PHEV applications, just that their cost is still high, compared to LMO (and other nickel based chemistries). This probably explains why A123 had several contracts for PHEV applications. What didn't work generally in their favour was the fact that EV demand has taken off slower than expected and I wonder how reasonable it is to blame automakers (who contracted A123) in this case..
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      ' "They got way ahead of the market they needed to sell into,” Howard Battery Consulting’s W.F. Howard, an authority on lithium-ion batteries, said. “It was not the lithium-ion technology, it was the business part.” There may have been another factor working against A123, a dean of energy storage who asked not to be named observed to GTM on the conference sidelines. “The American auto industry chose energy density over safety and lifecycle capacity.” Companies with bigger backing and bigger names won contracts, he said, despite the fact that their batteries are not as safe or as durable. Energy storage is always, he explained, a choice between power, energy, lifecycle capacity and cost. New companies like A123 and Altairnano (FRA:AWVN) target qualities that will raise brand bankability. Battery industry majors like LG Chem (PINK:LGCLF) and Panasonic (NYSE:PC) produce batteries that store more energy, even at the expense of safety and durability, this widely respected academic and battery expert insisted. But they were chosen over A123 and Altairnano by the world’s vehicle makers because they are already considered bankable. “A123 was killed off by their own success,” said FullPower Principal Richard Smith. “Being the most successful supplier of batteries for electric vehicles at the wrong economic time cost them.” Manufacturing, Smith explained, is a capital-intensive business, and ongoing work ties it up, Smith said, speaking from his own experience with Maxwell Technologies and other automotive suppliers. “A123 had about twice the forecast order from the automotive industry than what was finally purchased. To get those orders, you have to show them you have factory capacity and supplier contracts to produce that volume.” But, Smith said, “all their contracts contain clauses which allow them to shape their order up or down, depending on the actual run rate of their factory. A123 probably would have had a substantial amount of factory capacity and work in progress. And then the orders were cut back, maybe as much as 30 percent to 50 percent.” As an energy storage industry consultant with an ample roster of clients, Smith said, he hears things. “I have no indication A123 had any technical issues.” There may have been cost issues, Smith noted. “Their cost curve would have been based on a volume of production. The automotive industry tells you they will buy 50,000 units. If it turns out to be 25,000, they very seldom back up their cost curve very much. So the chances of having any cost relief are slim. Without that volume, A123 could not achieve a positive cash flow.” And it would have become a vicious cycle if A123’s suppliers raised their prices because they were purchasing smaller volumes, he added. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Energy-Storage-Experts-Explain-What-Happened-to-Battery-Firm-A123
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        A123 failed mainly because they lost the Volt contract. I think the analysis overall is spot on (energy density vs safety/durability). The problem with A123 is that even though their cells are safe and has good cycle life characteristics, it's too expensive per kWh, even when you factor in cost/weight/volume of the active cooling systems the other cells require (and you might want active cooling anyways judging from Nissan's troubles). It's a better fit for plug-in hybrids, so they really only had a good chance if they won the Volt contract (which would have provided a more stable number of contracted orders vs. other smaller auto manufacturers).
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          "A123 failed mainly because they lost the Volt contract" Remember also that A123 was going to supply batteries to Frisker - a little late in their launch, and early estimates were for 15,000 vehicles per year. Then, there was also a pretty costly recall.
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        I think A123 could have given their batteries away and not incurred the losses they did. They must have made some very costly mistakes on a regular basis. Beyond the foolish decision to refuse sales which they did as a matter of policy.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        @ DaveMart Thank you for that very informative post . Unhappily, I expect this article to attract the usual crowd of Fisker haters to post far less relevant comments.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @EVnerdGene "Maybe Frisker should have asked for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts" Lol ! :)
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Marco, You probably put me in the Frisker hater column. Not completely true; I just think they could have raised all the money they needed in private markets (instead of putting our country even further in debt). As an engineer - IMO - not an engineering marvel by any stretch. See my last post in the Frisker with a racing stripe article. I think you'll agee with me.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ EVnerdGene No, I don't put you in the Fisker hater column. Your objection is really about the government providing finance for private enterprise. As I understand you, you don't believe the government should fund industry, whether the funds are paid back or not. You are not unreasonable in your defense of this viewpoint. I'm not sure that I altogether agree with your position (which is unique to some Americans). however, I recognize that it's a legitimate political viewpoint. Fisker is not an engineers car ! Fisker is designed to be everything engineers hate, design and art over function ! The Fisker-Karma is a brilliantly designed car to appeal to a certain market. It hails back to the great days of American auto opulence. The stunning excesses of Harley Earl, Virgil Exner, Gordon Buehrig, etc. Quantum Technologies, who designed the drive-train, claim it to be superior, but it's certainly proved adequate. It's a great,unique GT, with special appeal. It does bring poster pin-up appeal to EV technology. The Fisker Karma, is fun !
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          OK Marco, Maybe Frisker should have asked for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (like "piss christ") instead of a loan from the AVTM - Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. I admired Henrik's Astons and the Z8. Tramonto, Latigo, Artega, Karma, Atlantic - none of these race my pulse. I could name a dozen current production cars I like the looks of more; and some recent W-O-W concept cars from BMW, Lexus, Acura, and Audi.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Phew. Fisker already lining up a good excuse for when they go under.
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