A 123 Systems received $249 million Department of Energy grants to work on lithium ion batteries for electric cars.
Now, they make them for the Chinese:
Wanxiang is a Chinese auto parts maker, and of course it can bring some financial stability to A 123 — if it pours in money. Its problem will be that even if it uses sweatshop labor, the costs of the batteries will simply not come down by much, as there is not much of a labor component in the batteries. That is partly why I wrote my thesis to the US Senate. The CEO of A 123, Mr. David Vieau, still has the hope that this new investment after all the other investments will bring A 123 to the promised land. Good luck.
The A 123 story may make the Solyndra scandal look clean by comparison. The Solyndra structure was via loan guarantees, and when Solyndra went out of business the DOE had some control over the disposition of the assets and know-how of the company. The Chinese were prevented from buying Solyndra for a song and gaining the knowledge that tax payers and investors had spent a lot of money to gain. By contrast, the A 123 structure is a complete failure in protecting taxpayers. The money was given to A 123 by the DOE as a grant with essentially no strings attached as to how the assets and know-how of the company could be transferred.
Note how Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and John Dingell (D-MI) all stated the wonders of A 123 back on August 5, 2009.
Just in case you weren’t already shaking your head in disbelief, let me drop this nugget on you.
Remember, we are told green energy can’t develop without help from the government, because only the government can “invest” the amount of money needed for the R&D.
The DOE gave A 123 Systems $249 million. Wanxiang spent $450 million.
Seems to me if there’s a buck to be made, but money is needed to make it, money can be found.