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The battery maker received $249 million in loans from the Department of Energy

Electric car battery maker A123 filed for bankruptcy today, just a few hours after warning it was about to default on its loans, and will be taken over by auto supplier Johnson Controls.

A123 Systems had a tough second quarter with an increased loss and the loss of potential business with Chrysler. A123 had been named by Chrysler as its electric vehicle battery supplier early in 2009. Unfortunately, Chrysler's ENVI division was dissolved late last year following the company's bankruptcy process and Fiat canceled most of the electric vehicle projects. A123 was to have supplied batteries for the planned Fiat 500 EV, but Chrysler has reportedly brought in another supplier. That oth

Electric vehicle infrastructure provider Better Place has concluded a three-month field test in Tokyo to prove its battery swapping technology works as promised. In cooperation with Nissan and battery supplier A123 System, three Rogue crossovers were converted to electric drive and given replaceable batteries. The battery-powered Rogues were used as taxis in the Japanese capital and had their 17 kilowatt-hour batteries replaced several times a day. In the test form, the Rogue EV has a real world

We've witnessed repair trucks parked curbside idling away for hours spewing emissions while workers perform tasks. In fact, this apparent waste of fuel happens all too often, doesn't it? It's not that the workers are mistakenly leaving the trucks running, it's that the diesel engine provides power to the tools needed to perform repair tasks. So, is there any way to avoid running the engine for hours on end yet still accomplish the necessary work? You bet there is, and Eaton Corp., along with A12

Massachusetts-based A123 Systems has been one of the rising stars of the lithium battery field in the last several years. In spite of that, the company that was started by a team of MIT researchers has struggled to raise cash to manufacture automotive cells in the United States.

Better Place and Nihon Kotsu electric taxi project – Click above for high-res image gallery

Modec electric truck – Click above for high-res image gallery

At the same time that A123 Systems was announcing its deal to supply lithium ion batteries to Fisker Automotive last week, the Massachusetts-based company announced a major expansion of its production capacity. A123 already has one plant running in Novi, MI, (northwest of Detroit) and there is a second, larger, 300,000 square facility due to open in the middle of this year in Livonia, MI. A third factory – similar in size to the Livonia plant – will begin construction later this year

Henrik Fisker and the Karma plug-in hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

A new Electrification Coalition was announced today with the backing of the CEOs from twelve companies. What's interesting about this group is that, among the leaders from electric vehicles companies and related start-ups – Coda Automotive, Coulomb Technolgies, A123 Systems, etc. – we find Nissan's Carlos Ghosn. Nissan is the only major OEM to participate in this coalition, which will promote "policies and actions that will facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass sca

A123 Systems has garnered plenty of attention for its lithium ion battery technology over the last several years, mostly here in the United States. The Massachusetts-based startup has now formed a partnership with IHI to market its batteries in Japan, a market that already has a number of domestic suppliers. According to IHI, it favors the A123 batteries because they are lower in cost.

GM may have discarded the Saturn brand in the company's bankruptcy, but there are still at least 150 young engineers working hard to turn a Saturn Vue into the most efficient vehicle possible. The engineers are all students from 17 universities who are participating in the EcoCAR challenge, the three-year follow-up to Challenge X.

Massachusetts-based battery maker A123 Systems finally completed its initial public offering on Thursday. The lithium ion start-up offered 28,180,501 shares of its common stock at an opening price of $13.50 a share. Apparently, traders on the Nasdaq exchange thought the price was too low and quickly bid it up to a first day closing price of $20.29 a share, a healthy 50-percent gain. For those interested in following the stock, it is listed under the ticker symbol AONE on the NASDAQ listings.

Magneti Marelli has just signed a deal with Italian battery maker FAAM SpA to cooperate on development and production of lithium ion batteries. Marelli is a parts-making subsidiary of Fiat and the batteries are being developed for use in transportation applications. In addition to its Italian plant, FAAM also has factories in China and Uruguay.

At the closed and then re-openend Monaco Recreational Vehicle plant in Indiana today, President Obama will announce exactly how $2.4 billion in Recovery Act grant money will be spent on advanced battery technologies and on infrastructure for more electric vehicles. This is a bit more than the $2 billion originally set aside in February to fund advanced batteries in the Recovery Act. All told, 48 battery technology and electric vehicle projects will get some money. The big winners and familiar na

It looks like Ford won't be the only company getting lithium ion battery packs from Magna International. The Magna Steyr division of the supplier announced last week that it will begin production of packs at its plant in Graz, Austria next month. The packs will be supplied to Volvo for use in its buses, heavy duty trucks and garbage trucks equipped with hybrid powertrains. Volvo uses a parallel hybrid system for its vehicles.

With the closing of the latest round of private fund raising, Massachusetts-based A123 Systems now has an extra $69 million in the bank. General Electric put up $15 million of that amount, bringing its ownership stake in the advanced battery startup to more than 10 percent, the single largest shareholding. This latest funding round comes just one week after Chrysler announced that A123 Systems would be its first primary supplier of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles. China's SAIC also a

Earlier this week, Chrysler confirmed it would be using battery packs supplied by A123, an American company that specializes in high-tech lithium ion battery technology, to power future electric vehicles as part of its ENVI program. To make this deal work out, A123 will build an assembly plant somewhere near the Motor City in Michigan. This proposed plant would eventually employ 14,000 people and have the capacity to supply 5 million hybrid vehicles or half a million battery electric vehicles.

Click above for a high-res gallery of the Dodge Circuit EV

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