Lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems is officially unplugging from the grid. The company, which was acquired by Wanxiang Group last year, is selling its grid-storage business to Japan-based NEC Corp. The company's Massachusetts and Missouri facilities are going along with it.
It appears that Wanxiang America's $149.2-million acquisition bid was about more than just owning the assets of Fisker Automotive. The Chinese auto parts maker is apparently serious about getting the Karma plug-in hybrid luxury vehicle back on the production line.
A123 makes a pretty good lithium battery that has a high-cycle life and can put out loads of power. What it's not so good at, however, is holding a lot of energy. At least, not when compared to the Panasonic cells that Tesla Motors uses in the Model S. Sure, it's great for hybrids and city-car applications like the Chevy Spark EV, but if it's going to find a place in the longer-range EVs of the future, it will need to up its game. It looks like that could happen.
It's official: A123 Systems Inc. is passing through its final phase. The bankrupt lithium ion battery maker, now going by the name B456 Systems Inc., has won court approval for its plan to exit bankruptcy that pays off creditors from proceeds gained by selling off virtually all of its assets.
Ok, so we made the "PDQ" part up, but battery maker A123 Systems, Inc. has changed its name to B456 Systems, Inc. – and no, this is not an early April Fool's Day joke. As part of A123's bankruptcy proceedings dating to last October, it was required to change its name in order to be purchased by Chinese company Wanxiang. According to the Detroit Free Press, as part of a March 22, 2013 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, A123 declared that its new name is B456 the name of
Wanxiang Group's acquisition of lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems has been approved by the US government, according to a statement from the Chinese auto parts maker. Wanxiang's US unit had agreed to pay $257 million for A123's automotive battery business and related assets in a bankruptcy auction.
The bankruptcy proceedings for A123 Systems are moving relatively smoothly toward completion, and it looks like Wanxiang America Corp. and Navitas Systems LLC should complete the transactions within the guidelines of the court-ordered asset purchase agreements by February 1, 2013.
Wanxiang Group has insisted A123 Systems will remain an American company operationally following intense scrutiny from US lawmakers. China's largest parts manufacturer purchased A123 Systems at auction after the company fell into insolvency, but the battery maker holds a number of defense contracts with the US government. Pin Ni, head of Wanxiang's US operations, told Reuters that A123 will not be folded into the group's lithium-ion battery unit and will instead remain an American company. The $
The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show was filled with innovations in safety, infotainment, and battery-powered electric vehicles. With plenty of tech to pick from, we decided to dive a bit deeper on two of our favorites from the show: the Chevy Spark EV and BMW i3 Coupe.
Chevy Spark EV
The Detroit News reports that China's Wanxiang Group Corporation will acquire almost all of bankrupt A123 Systems Inc. for $256 million. The deal includes all of the American battery manufacturer's grid and commercial business assets as well as the company's facilities in Michigan, Massachusetts and Missouri. Meanwhile, Woodridge, Illinois-based Navitas Systems will purchase all of A123 Systems' government contracts for $2.25 million.
After facing what could be charitably described as a terrible year, Fisker founder and Chairman Henrik Fisker admitted in a recent interview that his company is "actively engaged in conversations with potential strategic partners." Speaking with TheDetroitBureau.com, Fisker went on to say that he'd, "like to see if we can get something done next year."
Automotive News reports A123 Systems, an electric vehicle battery manufacturer, received a disbursement check from the federal government on the same day the company filed for bankruptcy. On Oct. 16, A123 received $946,830 as the latest portion of a clean energy grant from the US Department of Energy. That was the same day A123 Systems filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following a failed attempt to secure funding from Chinese parts supplier Wanxiang Group. Of the original grant, $115.8
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,
Something interesting happened after A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy last week: the plug-in vehicle industry circled the wagons. AutoblogGreen received press releases and statements from a variety of electric vehicle (EV) players that, when taken as a whole, seem to indicate this particular bankruptcy filing hit a little closer to home than when, say, Think exited stage right. The main message would make Douglas Adams proud: Don't panic. Fisker, for example, gets all of its batteries from A123
The pros and cons of the auto bailout and concerns about the rising price of gasoline have been a political football throughout this election season. So, it should come as no surprise that the auto industry was brought up more than a few times in last night's heated presidential debate.