It won’t be the first, if so … and probably not the last, either. Battery maker A123 got more than $250 million in taxpayer subsidies from Barack Obama’s green-tech stimulus, specifically to produce a robust amount of product for Obama’s promised explosion of electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the only thing exploding are A123’s losses. CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson reports that the company’s latest SEC filings admit “substantial doubt” about A123’s future — even while it spends the remaining $100 million in taxpayer-guaranteed funds (via The Right Scoop):
Herrera was among 1,000 workers who landed jobs at A123. CBS News spoke with CEO David Vieau last fall. “Approximately half the people here were unemployed, so we put people back to work,” he said.
But one month after that interview, A123 laid off 125 employees.
Then the luxury electric car Fisker Karma failed. It was powered by a faulty A123 battery. “It’s low, it’s sleek, it’s sensuous… it’s also broken! ” said Consumer Reports.
A123 was forced to launch an expensive recall — its second in four months. With $621 million in net losses since 2009, the company disclosed in SEC filings last month that there was “substantial doubt” about its “ability to continue.”
A123 has declined further interview requests.
I’ll bet. The company wanted to do nothing but talk about a supposed major breakthrough on car batteries, but since the cars themselves aren’t selling, it’s mainly an academic point. Even if A123 achieved a real breakthrough, it would take years to turn it into practical use, and clearly A123 doesn’t have years on its current trajectory.
Looks like the track record of government picking losers and losers continues. Perhaps we should get the last $100 million out of A123 before it follows Solyndra into oblivion.