Bankrupt Battery Maker A123 Systems Bought By Wanxiang

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Lithium Ion Phosphate Auto Battery cell

Lithium Ion Phosphate Auto Battery cell

A123 Systems, the bankrupt battery maker which supplies Fisker Automotive and others, has finally found a buyer.

Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp. fought off a joint bid from U.S. parts company Johnson Controls Inc. and Japan's NEC Corp, with a bid of $256.6 million.

Reuters reports that A123's government business arm, which works with the U.S. Defense Department, has been separately sold to Navitas Systems for $2.25 million.

The sale to Wanxiang must now be approved by Delaware Bankruptcy Court judge Kevin Carey, at a hearing on Tuesday.

Opposition to the sale may focus on approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States--and some politicians and retired military leaders have already vocalized their concerns about the sale.

If the sale is approved, it will draw to a close a long sale process which has been ongoing since August. A bailout from the Chinese firm initially stalled when A123 couldn't meet certain criteria imposed by Wanxiang, which eventually led to the company's bankruptcy.

If A123 is in safer hands, electric automaker Fisker Automotive will be hoping production and supply quickly re-starts.

The luxury automaker has had to stall its own production due to short supply of battery packs--and the firm describes its inventory as "getting low".

Other vehicles supplied by A123 Systems include the Via Motors electric truck, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, and BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and 5 models.


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Comments (7)
  1. A123 couldn't find enough takers for its cells to make it, maybe the Chinese will find more use for it. A gallon of gasoline saved in China has no doubt more benefits for humanity than a gallon saved in the West.

  2. How does that even make sense?
    We all breathe the same air, air and pollution in Beijing will ultimately affect us. WE all share this world.

  3. He meant that energy "efficiency" is FAR LOWER in China than the West. So a gallon saved in China has far higher environmental benefit than a gallon saved in the West...

    However, Chinese electricity is also far dirtier than the the same KWh in the West. So, converting "cleaner" and more "efficient" gas cars in China to EVs might NOT bring as much benefit as it does in the West.

  4. Actually I was thinking about the sort of foreign policies China has in place to make sure it gets its share of the oil pie. Bottomline: if you have the oil China is your friend no matter what you're up to. Need diplomatic backup for your little genocide? No problem, China will have your back if you have the oil (Sudan). Building your own Nuke to wipe out the people your religion tells you are your enemies? No problem, China backs you every step of the way and getting your oil cheaper because of dodging international sanctions is just an extra reward for clever manoeuvring (Iran).

    The way I see it anything that can make a regime that will stop at nothing to get the commodities it needs less oil dependent is a blessing for humanity.

  5. I don't condone's China's way of supporting all questionable regimes for oil security. But there are only so much oil in the world. China is poor in oil and it needs industrialization. So, it either has to fight with West for oil control in the middle east or find oil elsewhere. That is what China has chosen to do. Find oil elsewhere. It just happens the only place that still have oil are the places where Western countries won't deal with or have sanction against. It sort "forces" China to deal with them. I would certainly hope that China knows that oil security can't rely on "rogue" nations.

    So, the less entire world depend on oil, the better for everyone. This is probably why China is one of the leader in green energy investment.

  6. Ug. Well if they are selling to the Chinese now, maybe they can wake up and start selling cells to US buyers who want them for conversions. They are loosing millions a year not selling to converters in the US by refusing to sell to them. Large format LiFePO4 batteries need to be sold to everyone who wants them. Sell though distribution if that makes it happen, just do it.

  7. @Matt: Conversions, in the U.S. or anywhere else, will only ever be a tiny fraction of the electric-car population.

    And it's fairly understandable why a top-tier lithium-ion cell maker wouldn't want its cells to end up in the hands of any old garage converters. Look at all the misinformed press around the garage fire last year that destroyed a Volt as a side effect. It appears that fire may have been caused by either a Suzuki converted to electric power or by the charger and wiring installed by the converter.

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