A123 gives up, files for bankruptcy (and the political sparks fly)

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By: SGN Staff

After a long struggle, advanced battery maker and energy storage systems producer A123 Systems has called it quits. The troubled company filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, which has industry and political watchers anticipating the unfortunate news will become yet another election season rallying point for continued criticisms of the Obama administration's support for EV deployment and a strong U.S. battery industry.

 

In fact, the political sniping has already begun, according to a New York Times article. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized the president for his support of green energy programs consistently. Reacting to the A123 news this week, Romney press secretary Andrea Saul was quoted as saying "A123's bankruptcy is yet another failure for the president's disastrous strategy of gambling away billions of taxpayer dollars on a strategy of government-led growth that simply does not work."

 

A123 was awarded a $249 million stimulus grant, and has used about $132 million of that amount, according to a DOE official quoted in the article. At the time the grants were awarded and long after, A123 was considered one of the most promising grant recipients. The DOE official said the money was not wasted as a result of the bankruptcy because the two factories will be sold to Johnson Controls, another U.S. battery maker. That deal is valued at about $125 million.