We don't take care of our own. Give our Tax Dollars to a Chinese Co.
WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - China's largest maker of auto parts won a politically sensitive auction for A123 Systems Inc (AONEQ.PK), a bankrupt maker of batteries for electric cars that was funded partly with U.S. government money, the investment banker for A123 said on Saturday.
Timothy Pohl of Lazard Freres said Wanxiang Group Corp's bid of about $260 million topped a joint bid from Johnson Controls Inc (JCI) of Milwaukee and NEC Corp of Japan for the maker of lithium-ion batteries.
Siemens AG (SIE.DE) of Germany had also qualified to bid, according to two people familiar with the auction, who asked not to be identified. The auction began on Thursday.
China changed its rules years ago and many companies in China are US owned or the US is the major partner. GM certainly has interests there far greater than A123. It would be hard to deny the company from China ownership if it was the highest bidder, all A123 makes is batteries that are not regarded as a major advance. Further, the company from China is coming in the front door in the bidding process. Some companies from there in the past (eg Huawei) have not been so straightforward.
There are a number of advanced US R&D battery projects that do project major advances in batteries if they work in the everyday world. Imagine Tesla's Model S with a battery giving it twice the range with less expense and maybe a bit less weight. I am not forecasting that in the next couple of years, to say the least. But the car is already a game changer if they can turn them out. Their idea is not gas savings or whatever, it is apparently to turn out a better luxury car enabled by being electric. That is, to raise the bar on the sum of civility and performance which are usually tradeoffs. Apparently they have from all the awards they get.
Lower priced electrics like the Leaf or the Focus electric are in a different market and not presently actually economic even with a subsidy. Batteries of less expense but a bit more capacity could change the game at their end of the market too. But it doesn't look like A123 tech will do it even with more economies of scale. YMMV.