And in the "one hand didn't know what the other hand was doing" department, we have this. Lithium-ion battery-pack maker A123 Systems received almost $1 million in federal funding the day it filed for bankruptcy, Reuters reports, citing a letter the company sent to Republican Senators John Thune and Chuck Grassley.

A123 got a $950,000 payment on October 16, the wire service said. In all, A123 received about half of the $249 million earmarked in a Department of Energy grant to the battery maker.

Many Republicans have criticized the federal government for its loans and grants to new-technology transportation companies like Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive, and the A123 situation has appeared to have added fuel to such criticism. Such officials' claims have been further supported by relatively slow electric-vehicle sales in the US. The Energy Department has defended its decisions in the name of green-energy policy.

Early next month, A123 will likely receive acquisition bids from at least four companies, including China-based Wanxiang Group Corp. and US-based Johnson Controls. Grassley and Thune have both expressed concern that Wanxiang Group ownership may create security risks. Japan's NEC Corp. and Germany's Siemens AG may also make offers for A123, which recently received US Bankruptcy Court permission to borrow $50 million from Wanxiang.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      sebringc5
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am havng a hard time finding any sympathy for this company. A good product handled by mismanagment. Jack Rickard from EVTV pleaded with A123 to sell him batterys, even to test. The company stoodfast with the stance of "we only sell to OEM's". Jack sourced the cells from China/South Korea for a much cheaper price. When the cells arrived in MO he opened up the box to find fresh new (not seconds like A123 proclaims) cells with a MADE IN THE USA label affixed to them! These are genuine cells that test out to be fantastic in energy density. All the best, Aaron Lephart www.smartcar451.com
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sebringc5
        If you watched his later videos, you'll find that they weren't so perfect. Some of them mysteriously went up in smoke.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sebringc5
        Nonetheless, they lost their chance to sell to the hobbyists who wanted them. And that's a damn shame considering that this is one of the most safe chemistries ever produced. They might say that there are legalities involved, but why can i hop over to wal-mart and buy a car battery that could potentially spray sulfuric acid and hydrogen into my eyes and lungs if i do something stupid with it? I am on an EV forum where people getting ripped off for A123 cells has happened about 3 times now. The cells have historically been so hard to get that they became a target for scams. This just proves that there is/was intense demand for the product by hobbyists.. a market which A123 could have capitalized on. I think in the frustration level, this might be above Solyndra.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          It might, but the media won't report it, so it's all good!
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just claw-back the money. They didn't spend it in a day.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      The last million doesn't really compare to the 250 they flushed. While refusing to sell their batteries to those who paid the bill.
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Or 125 as it were.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Funny that the only way you can get their batteries now is from a few Chinese companies that somehow got ahold of rejected fisker cells that were headed to the crusher. Good cells.. laughable business
          brotherkenny4
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          All battery companies go through a validation period in which they produce cells as tests of the equipment for manufacturing, and not for sale. These get sent for recycling (perhaps in China). The manufacturing equipment then gets approved for production. There are a lot of cells, many good, produced during validation.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          How about you forget i said anything, thanks :)
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I'd love to give you a citation but honestly i shouldn't have mentioned it in the first place. No more on that from me *eats cyanide pill*
          JP
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          He did not make it up, and not all of the cells available are necessarily seconds.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          "How about you forget i said anything..." But up above, your comment appears to indicate that people are being scammed by buying A123 cells. Are the cells real, or are they counterfeit; or, are cells not being delivered (I've had *that* experience with other products sourced from China) with no recourse to reimbursements? "I am on an EV forum where people getting ripped off for A123 cells has happened about 3 times now. The cells have historically been so hard to get that they became a target for scams." 2WM, your demeanor leads me to believe you really don't know what you're talking about regarding "rejected Fisker cells" being sold to the public instead of being properly recycled. If you want to retract the whole comment (since you ask me now to disregard it), fine by me.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          So, are you saying you made it up, or are you saying that people are buying defective (or simply known to be seconds) cells? People buy rejected products all the time - that's what outlet malls are built upon. Nothing wrong with it, as long as you get a hefty discount for buying that Gucci bag with poor stitching. Heck, I bought a "rejected" CRKT knife the other day that had a poorly applied titanium nitride coating. Ugly as heck, but the blade is still plenty sharp, and it's got a nice mechanism. For $7, I'm happy.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          "...a few Chinese companies that somehow got ahold of rejected fisker cells that were headed to the crusher." *Citation needed*
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          "He did not make it up, and not all of the cells available are necessarily seconds." Then providing a citation should be easy. If they're not seconds, then what are they? First quality cells - if so, again, what's the complaint about buying them? I'm just looking for a more thorough explanation of 2WM's OC. I'm familiar with different "grades" of electronics; A-grade generally meet all specs and are sold with full warranties, B-grade might have some blemish and are sold with lesser warranties... etc. Who rejected the cells, and for what reasons? Fisker might have been the OEM customer, but they wouldn't have access to the same QC testing that would be done by A123 themselves in house before the cells were ever even assembled into packs.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        The government reimbursements for work under the recovery act awards (this one here, A123), only occurs after the company has incurred the full costs. Typically cost reimbursed at this time would be from cost the company incurred a couple months ago. I know, really boring, right? However, to say that the government just sent them 980K is really stupid. They (A123) spent about 1.9million several months ago and just now the government is reimbursing their share. Don't worry everyone. The Chinese will eventually be able to make cells as well as any US company, and they will sell to anyone. They care not for the control of our masses, just the money. Us companies have the extra burden of having to help cow and cajole the populace into sheepish followers.
      Mark Schaffer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Was the payment anything other than a contractual obligation? If not, than the author's observation is obtuse.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark Schaffer
        Wonder why that is voted down. It is a valid question.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          You just couldn't help but plug one of your corporate sponsors, could you? ;And then you and Blue both supporting those corporate sponsored "Holidays." I, for one, am not falling for your vast and well designed conspiracy. So happy holidays to you as well... Crap! I am falling for it. You and blue with your silkiness. Darnit. ;-)
          bluepongo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Grendal I'm mostly here for the lulz; don't hate the playa hate the game.;) But on a rare serious note Happy Holidays/ Seasons Greetings to everyone if I don't post again later.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Yes. EZEE writes about his threesomes just to lull us all into believing his silky lies. "Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive." It's probably that same silkyness that gets him all the hot chicks too. :)
          bluepongo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          raktmn suggested on the CR Tesla review thread that ABG might have super trolls like Reddit had with "Violentacrez". Probably to keep folks who question their lack of research and ethics on the defensive. I've noticed any such posts downvoted and then the commenter automatically down voted thereafter. Always look forward to yours EZEE.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Grenal LOL! You made me snort coffee at Starbucks... :-) @blue happy holidays to you too! The more happy posts the better!
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hobbyists never seem to understand why some manufacturers who don't manufacturer for the hobbyist market, don't want to sell to them ! The hobbyists invariably invent some weird conspiracy theory to explain their own delusions of grandeur. Manufacturers who manufacture for very large production runs, for large clients, have no interest in all the additional overhead, and legal complications of selling unprofitable items to unprofitable customers. who are notorious for misusing, and unreasonably complaining, about the product. To some manufacturers, hobbyists, are just more trouble than they're worth !
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        The battery companies are worried that their product will become a commodity. They'd like to pretend like they have a high end product, but they don't. The complications you speak of are easily solved by a waiver of responsibility and warrantee. People buy guns and gasoline and alcohol and tobacco and many other things. However, lithium ion batteries are not permitted, well at least those touted as car batteries. Anyway, this idea that hobbyists are not worth the time is just bunk. Every product that has a demand can be made at a profit. However, you actually have to know what your doing.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          @ brotherkenny4 Then here's your chance ! Start you own battery manufacturing company ! No, that right you can't ! Instead of posting absurd conspiracy nonsense on ABG, don't be lazy, sit down and work out for yourself (invest in book on the subject) about commercial overheads. Then you might not continue to make a fool of yourself. There are lot's of products made, that certainly have an element of demand, but not enough to make a profit ! That's why even well known products are discontinued, or reduced to only very specific markets. Take the time to learn a little commercial cost analysis, and you will gain mush greater understanding of how business works.
      Naturenut99
      • 2 Years Ago
      This company must remain a US company. We put the money into it. I'm fine with doing that, but we absolutely can not then turn it over to a foreign company.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Naturenut99
        The reverse would not be true. For one, it's probably illegal for a US company to even buy a Chinese company. If it was legal, I guarantee there wouldn't be a question that a US company could buy into a company with proprietary Chinese technology. With the governments investment in A123 then the company should default to government ownership and then they sell it to an appropriate American buyer. That makes sense to me, so it probably won't happen.
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