A123 Systems: Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Political pundits hopped up on election season adrendaline have been quick to group A123 Systems with the failed solar tech company Solyndra.

Green_Dollar_SignsOver the summer, American electric vehicle battery manufacturer A123 Systems had what it called a new “game-changing” battery. Then recently, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Where did it all go wrong?

The A123 Systems founders banked that the company’s proprietary nanophosphate tech would pay off with safe, long-life and high-power batteries. Over time, A123 Systems gained customers for lithium-ion batteries that included Fisker Automotive, the eco-carmaker of choice for celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2009, the company got a $249 million grant from the U.S. government as part of a push to stimulate clean energy growth. Last June, A123 Systems came out with a new battery it said could reduce the need for costly heating or cooling systems.

But a bunch of factors created serious waves. Americans weren’t buying so many plug-in hybrids. Fisker Karma orders were lower than expected. Then a large deal with Chinese automotive manufacturing Wanxiang Group Corporation fell through, a Zacks Investment Research analyst noted.

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Source: Alyssa Danigelis | Discovery News