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Chinese Firm Wins Bid For US-Backed Battery Maker

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the best-laid-plans dept.

The Almighty Buck 183

theodp writes "On September 13, 2010, President Obama called A123 Systems from the Oval Office to congratulate them on opening the nation's first manufacturing facility to mass-produce electric vehicle batteries, which the White House noted was made possible by a $249 million Recovery Act grant the company received the prior August. 'When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future,' the President said, 'I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America. And that's what you guys are helping to make happen.' But on Saturday, the assets of A123 Systems were auctioned off to the Wanxiang Group, a large Chinese auto parts maker. Wanxiang agreed to pay $256 million for A123's automotive and commercial operations, including its three factories in the United States. Forbes reports that A123's stock, which closed at 7 cents a share on Friday, is now worthless."

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And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42242997)

This is the free market in action. Would you rather the White House block the sale?

Re:And? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42243041)

Some probably would.

I was hoping those US factories might be reopened by the new owners. Instead the machines and all the IP will go to the Chinese.

Re:And? (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#42243131)

all the IP will go to the Chinese.

At least this time we got them to pay for it.

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

Beorytis (1014777) | about 2 years ago | (#42243613)

all the IP will go to the Chinese.

At least this time we got them to pay for it.

But who receives payment of the auction proceeds? I'm guessing it won't be the people who put up the $249 recovery funds.

Re:And? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#42243839)

It depends on what other creditors have a claim to their assets, but yes, the money from liquidation actually should at least in part go back to the government... though it looks like a big part of their debt is actually to the company buying them, so that increases the chances that other creditors will get paid.

the grants are to U.S. based manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243139)

the grants are to U.S. based manufacturers and the IP are US ones.

Chinese onwers may get ZIP.

Re:the grants are to U.S. based manufacturers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243659)

The company that accepted the grant had to sell itself. Without reading further, this tells me: the company took the grant, spent all of it, and never produced a sustainable USA made product. Basically, the now previous owners took the money and ran. They were a little smarter than other people who have tried since they managed to sell off the company before declaring bankruptcy.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243177)

And what's wrong with that? Compete or end up as roadkill. Those are your choices.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42243333)

Because that is not how they play this game.

Look at how they dumped solar cells as a great example.

Re:And? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243707)

Dumped? You say that because you don't like the way they compete.

Re:And? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#42243857)

Such competition is backed by the Chinese Government. If we want our companies to be able to compete, we need to have our own government actually support young industries, not just old embedded ones.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42243869)

So using tax dollars to lower the price of your products to drive competitors out of business is competition?

So what is your bar for cheating?

Re:And? (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#42243497)

You never know, this might be part of the trend in manufacturing returning to US soil; with ultra-cheap material from China sailed in through the great lakes, they can slap the stuff together with the help of minimum wage machine operators, keep the "Made in USA" label, and stick them in $100,000 cars with the profit sailing back to China (and probably some fresh water out of the lake while they are at it).

Free market advocates will be filling this thread with more vitriol about how it always backfires when the government picks winners or losers, but the Chinese will basically be the only source of battery technology in a future where everything relies on electricity... Are you OK with the free market picking the US as the loser?

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#42243061)

Free market my ass. This is corporatism. Allow the corporation to do what they want at all costs. There is no reason that the government should NOT be allowed to designate that funds it spends benefits its citizens over other people. EVERY OTHER country in the world does this.

Let the nitpicking and the corporate hothead flaming begin below....

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#42243137)

I'd like to say this is speculative investment, and I'd also rather my governmenet not use tax dollars to engage in such speculative investment at all.

But it is, in fact, crony capitalism, or worse, pure fraud.

No, wait, it's just fraud. We are being robbed.

Re:And? (0, Flamebait)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#42243263)

I'd like to say this is speculative investment,

No it wasn't. It was a grant , not a loan, not an investment. That means the government just gave them the money with no requirement or expectation that it would be paid back.

We are being robbed.

How can you be robbed of something you gave away?

Re:And? (3, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#42243455)

The investment, made with it without an expectation of reimbursement, was nonetheless an investment. I assume it was made with the expectation of a successful venture, jobs and tax revenue, and development of a domestic battery manufacturer.

the failure began the question of whether there was a reasonable chance of success.

I expect my government to have such an expectation, but the market is a harsh place, and companies do fail.

I would prefer we do it differently.

Re:And? (3, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#42243557)

How can you be robbed of something you gave away?

Because in the constitution it said *nothing* about giving grants to US-based high tech battery manufacturers... therefore it is illegal for the federal government to do so (according to him). Pretty simple, really.

Re:And? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#42244025)

Yes in this case it looks like the Solindra $500M and the A123 $250M could have gone to paying down a fraction of our national debt at least. Small fraction, but it's a start.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#42243563)

I'd like to say this is speculative investment,

No it wasn't. It was a grant , not a loan, not an investment. That means the government just gave them the money with no requirement or expectation that it would be paid back.

Yes, but I'd like to think the gov't doesn't just give away money for the hell of it.

'When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future,' the President said, 'I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America. And that's what you guys are helping to make happen.'

That sounds like an expectation to me.

We are being robbed.

How can you be robbed of something you gave away?

Because I didn't give it away. Some group of assholes did. Most of whom I did not vote for.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243797)

Because I didn't give it away. Some group of assholes did. Most of whom I did not vote for.

If it's any consolation, more than half of your fellow countrymen (based on voter participation) are OK with that "group of assholes".

If you look around and everyone else is an asshole, what does that suggest......

Re:And? (0)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | about 2 years ago | (#42243999)

We are being robbed.

How can you be robbed of something you gave away?

We were robbed when tax dollars were spent on green energy.

Re:And? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 2 years ago | (#42243387)

Tell that to Exxon Mobile

Re:And? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243093)

There isn't a free market on the global level. There pretty much isn't a legal free market in the US. You can keep cawing on about the free market but it doesn't make it true.

Re:And? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243135)

I am cawing in an openly ironic manner -- point being, the clearly conservative slant that this story will assume in the coming days is diametrically opposed to the very alternative that would prevent this situation from developing.

Re:And? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243779)

And that's why I have never signed up for a /. account... random downmodding of even the post explaining how the GP was meant to be taken facetiously. I'd get way too pissed if it actually meant anything. Bullshit moderating system is bullshit, and always has been.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#42243095)

This is the free market in action. Would you rather the White House block the sale?

I'd rather the White House not give them $250M in taxpayer money in the first place. How exactly was that free market in action?

Re:And? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243241)

The Republican politicians who voted for the energy policy act of 2007 were for sale. And like any good investment, they paid off, leaving somebody else to hold the bill.

Oh you thought this was done unilaterally by the White House? Sucker.

Re:And? (4, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#42243425)

The Republican politicians who voted for the energy policy act of 2007 were for sale. And like any good investment, they paid off, leaving somebody else to hold the bill.

Lets take a look at the Senate roll call on the bill that actually gave them this money, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

Democrats - 55 yeas - 0 nays
Republicans - 3 yeas - 38 nays
Independents - 2 yeas - 0 nays (one is an "Independent Democrat")

Now lets take a look at the House roll call on this bill:

Democrats - 244 yeas - 11 nays
Republicans - 0 yeas - 177 nays

Yet again the Democrats blame the Republicans for what the Democrats did all by themselves.

Re:And? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243607)

No, no, no. That's not how it works. Not unless you're just trolling, anyway.

(Reliable) citation, or you just made these numbers up. And that doesn't mean a link to some blog that made the numbers up themselves, either. It means a link to an irrefutable source.

Re:And? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243625)

Damn those Democrats! They (meaning a corporation that went belly up several years later) wasted 0.03% of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act!

Re:And? (2)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 years ago | (#42244053)

Why couldn't they waste it on more drug prosecutions and prisons like the Republicans?

Re:And? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42244115)

You mean a bail out, you vile Democrat boot lick. Whats worse than a Republican? Not much, except a vile lying liberal Democrat. Most of slash dot loves its democrats, why I have no idea except its an ignorant government site.

Re:And? (3, Informative)

heck (609097) | about 2 years ago | (#42243719)

Lets take a look at the Senate roll call on the bill that actually gave them this money, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

Wrong funding. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Technology_Vehicles_Manufacturing_Loan_Program [wikipedia.org] (passed in fall of 2008) which was part of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Independence_and_Security_Act_of_2007 [wikipedia.org] Have a wonderful day. (If you had read my post, you would have caught the "program from 2008" and realized you had the wrong funding. )

Re:And? (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42244139)

Well according to the government websites that are linked to in the summary (energy.gov and whitehouse.gov) he got the correct act. Can you provide a link that shows that the government is lying about the law that authorized the funding in question?

Re:And? (1)

iserlohn (49556) | about 2 years ago | (#42243777)

Nice misdirection, picking the wrong act.

Re:And? (1, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42243883)

Bzzt wrong.

Mod this idiot down please. The funding act he refers to is the wrong one.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42244087)

Where I went to school 2007 != 2009. Nice try.

Re:And? (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42243389)

This is the free market in action. Would you rather the White House block the sale?

I'd rather the White House not give them $250M in taxpayer money in the first place. How exactly was that free market in action?

To go even further with that point, it's not the free market in action any more, as they already ruined that. Free market means if your management is all idiots and your manufacturing process sucks and your expenses are out of control and your downline is basically only 2 customers, you will fail. With $250 mil dropped in your lap, free market "survival of the fittest" goes away but all those problems don't go away. It just means you fail later, with more money because your company still sucks. Yes, that kind of grant accelerates what would take 10 years to build up but it has no way of knowing if the company would have succeeded, given enough time.

Re:And? (2)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 years ago | (#42244045)

Free market in technology means no money coming in for a year, 2 years or more while you develop it.

It means you invest $250 mill of somebody else's money, get even more money if it looks like it's working, and finally get a working salable product years down the road. With the understanding that most investments fail.

That's how Genentech did it. They got substantial government investments. Their original basic research was done under National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health grants. And now their biggest customer is Medicare.

Thousands of other biotechnology companies (also founded with basic research paid by the government) failed.

The government invests lots of money to keep this free market working. Take the airplane. The Wright brothers succeeded because they got the government to invest in them. The aircraft industry was built on government money (and regulation).

Intel succeeded because they had government (military) contracts. The whole fucking silicon valley was built on military contracts. The military still drives technology. And spends the most money. How many $250 million failed projects did Halliburton and the other government contractors build in Afghanistan and Iraq?

This free market model disappears pretty quickly when you look at the actual history of technology. Most major developments were built on public-private cooperation. Oh, that's right, we're not allowed to major in history any more because history majors can't pay back their student loans.

Re:And? (0)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 2 years ago | (#42243781)

I'd rather the White House not give them $250M in taxpayer money in the first place.

Government grants like that result in successful companies about 90% of the time, while private equity funding results successful companies less than 60% of the time. It looks like the government is better at finding companies to fund (and jobs to create) than private equity is.

.
The problem is that you only hear about the government failures, and you only hear about the private equity successes.

Re:And? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#42244069)

No, you're wrong. Government grants are grants--you get money. Private equity funding is loans (you owe money) or significantly smaller. Big ass grants, when managed properly, are the hand and the will of God for just about any business.

Re:And? (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about 2 years ago | (#42244135)

Citation? I suspect that those numbers are very susceptible to how you do the counting. Does one guy spending his life savings on an idea count as private equity? What is the metric for success?

Re:And? (0)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 years ago | (#42243159)

It's the free market cleaning up the mess corruption and mismanagement created. A123 should never have got their free goverment cash to start with.
Whatever, I'm not american, not my money.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243191)

Actually, it's government foolery that is forcing this kind of thing off-shore. The US simply cannot compete in this market with the current level of regulation. How you going to spin that fact to turn this into a free market issue?

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 2 years ago | (#42243193)

In a free market, a failing company would fail. In this case, the government took $249 million in tax dollars and gave it away. This is not the free market.

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#42243831)

This is not the free market.

First and foremost, what do you think a free market is?

Second, we haven't had *free markets for over 100 years and we don't want free markets.
Competitive markets are where the real growth is found and the only way to get competition is to restrain the worst impulses of the free market.

Third, this is what we have: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_economy [wikipedia.org]
It's better than a completely free market.

*For all definitions of "free"

Re:And? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243271)

"Hope and change", eh, you liberal fuckwads? Thanks for voting for 4 more years of Comrade Obongo's destruction of the U.S. economy.

Re:And? (4, Interesting)

INT_QRK (1043164) | about 2 years ago | (#42243289)

I have to admit that I'm irritated that as a US taxpayer my pocket was picked to redistribute $250 million to a company now owned by China.

Re:And? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243399)

You should be more irritated that a handful of US citizens in the form of soon-to-be-paid creditors will absorb every penny of that as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, following the $256M sale. And those creditors are not stockholders, who will be left empty-handed.

China didn't get a $250M check from the US government -- a group of nameless American creditors did.

Re:And? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 2 years ago | (#42243383)

When nation security interests are involved, yes. Take the time to read the article.

Re:And? (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42243409)

That statement is foolish, at best. This is not the "free market". US industry has been under attack for a couple of decades now, and this is just another footnote in the grand globalization scheme.

I would suspect, though I haven't looked for proof, that the Chinese government may have been involved. A small subsidy maybe, to enable the Chinese company to bid a bit higher than they might have been able to?

There is no "free market" (3, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | about 2 years ago | (#42243743)

Free markets are largely fictitious. They can only be maintained through heavy government intervention *cough* anti trust laws *cough* and require strong public infrastructure and an educated population. In short, there is not and never has been a "free market" except that which has been fostered and tended by a government relatively free of corruption. Without this government oversight, a "free market" quickly gets taken over by privately held monopolies that are then leveraged against other markets. The market then degrades into a highly capitalized form of fascism, as is happening now in the USA.

For example, even the USA at its height had much of its "private enterprise" industrial strength funded by public entities. here is an excellent example, makes for a fascinating read [theatlantic.com] .

It's not a free market at all (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#42243901)

This is the free market in action. Would you rather the White House block the sale?

It's a relatively free market here in the US. There is no such thing in China. There is no way a foreign company could buy a bankrupt company in China. They don't even let you do business there without a lot of concession which may involve allowing a Chinese competitor to make your product for their local market while you're allowed to export your shit out of the country. There's also the recent clamp down on export of some raw materials (rare earths) in order to bring their own manufacturers up to speed (Look at the price of NdFeB magnets over the last couple years). Also, the government over there is funding a lot of companies - this one may be partially state owned - I don't recall. Then there's the (lack of) regulatory environment over there which further tilts the playing field. So while it's a free market over here, it's anything but free over there. They view our openness with large grins.

If you view money as wealth you're an idiot. Warren Buffet views ones wealth as how much of the physical and economic world one "owns" - in that light the Chinese are gradually buying America with it's own money, while we have a bunch of dip-shits walking around saying "free market". Nothing good can come of this.

Re:And? (1, Troll)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#42243995)

This is the free market in action. Would you rather the White House block the sale?

Of course not. That would be Socialism. And everyone knows that Socialism is just another name for Communism and Communism is Evil and we shouldn't allow Communists to infiltrate our red-blooded 'Merican business!

It is what it is (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | about 2 years ago | (#42243043)

But it still sucks.

Re:It is what it is (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42243553)

But it still sucks.

Hey, at least it's creating jobs *somewhere*.

Re:It is what it is (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#42243715)

The problem is that free trade is a LIE because it allows those countries that have no evvironmental or worker regulations a distinct market advantage over those that do. It would be like playing a football game where you tell one side only "There are no rules and no penalties for you, do what you want" while the other team plays by the rules. Can anybody guess which team will win every time?

What we should do is slap high tariffs on any country that doesn't have similar working conditions to ours. if you let the factories dump their waste into the rivers, or allow them to belch toxins right out the stacks? Then it wouldn't do you a bit of good as you'll only be able to trade with countries that are in a similar situation.

But until we do this you can give up ever having things built in this country again as we'll simply never be competitive. By dumping their toxins the corps get to remove the costs associated with running a clean factory and pass it on to the peasants who'll have poisoned water and land, but since there are many dictatorships and regimes that simply don't give a fuck WHAT you do to the peasants that will always be an open, same as there are plenty of places that won't care if you expose those peasants to cancer causing substances in the course of their daily grind, so again this gives a great advantage as those costs now disappear.

All we will do long term if we allow this to continue is allow a handful of megacorps to concentrate ever more wealth while making sure more and more of the third world hates our guts and wishes us dead, and for good reason. And for those that say "They're just going through an industrial revolution like we did, it'll get better"? Might want to look what is stamped on those trash cans and other cheap low skill stuff as its NOT China anymore, its places like Malaysia and Vietnam. As the workers in China demand not to be treated like factory fodder and live in toxic waste the megacorps are simply moving to new places to export their cancer factories, still dozens of third world countries left to exploit and at this rate you're looking at a good 200+ years before they have ran through them all, leaving superfund sites in their wake.

Never forget the words of Thomas Jefferson, for they are just as true today as we he uttered them over 2 centuries ago: "Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."

I'm tired today. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243057)

I'm too tired to Troll or Flamebait properly, so if you could help me out here and take: "Libtard", Obuma or NOBama or Hussein", eco-nut, enviro-whackjob" and project your own Troll post in your head and Flame or Mod accordingly?

Thanks!

Re:I'm tired today. (2)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 years ago | (#42243199)

The united states of fail giving away their incomptetenly mismanaged and dearly needed money to their future masters. Why keep it partisan when it's your whole nation sinking?

News for nerds (-1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#42243065)

Not political bullshit that doesn't matter.

Re:News for nerds (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 2 years ago | (#42243113)

It gets kinda embarrassing when nerds reinforce their own negative stereotypes to proclaim that anything that might actually relevant they're not interested in.

I love Firefly and Game of Thrones as much as the next nerd, but we're not helping our self image by throwing a temper tantrum every time "real" news shows up in the feed.

Re:News for nerds (0)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#42243147)

I'd expect to see this in the business section of a news site, not slashdot. This isn't news for businessmen stocks that matter.

Re:News for nerds (4, Interesting)

Orne (144925) | about 2 years ago | (#42243373)

If we add that A123 is the sole provider of batteries for the Fisker Karma [dowjones.com] , would you start to care? That A123 is a provider of MW-scale batteries to AES Corp, [aesenergystorage.com] for use in windfarm smoothing and grid services?

I would have preferred that the government not gotten in the business of payouts to its campaign contributors [washingtonguardian.com] , but elections have consequences. Usually corrupt consequences, but what can you do.

Re:News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42244009)

If we add that A123 is the sole provider of batteries for the Fisker Karma, would you start to care?

Well since Fisker will probably go bankrupt as well, I might say no. But since China will probably then buy the remains of Fisker perhaps I care a little.

Re:News for nerds (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#42243693)

It gets kinda embarrassing when nerds reinforce their own negative stereotypes to proclaim that anything that might actually relevant they're not interested in.

I love Firefly and Game of Thrones as much as the next nerd, but we're not helping our self image by throwing a temper tantrum every time "real" news shows up in the feed.

The A123 story has been beaten to death though; this whole story should be modded flamebait since Slashdot editors know full well that the ensuing discussion will be a firestorm of politically motivated bickering that will stretch for 500+ posts (and generate a heap of ad impressions). Sure, for experienced users it's easy to ignore this kind of rabbit hole and never enter the discussion to begin with, but what kind of message are we sending out when the site's most active stories are all political ones? "Real" news would be some breakthrough (or letdown) on a line of battery r&d, or how a company is starting or stopping. This story is barely an addendum to their obituary (already over-covered on slashdot) and it will still get way more attention than a story about Linux or arduinos or other "properly" geeky pursuits.

Re:News for nerds (4, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 years ago | (#42244107)

There was an engineering professor in California named Terman who taught his students that they shouldn't just study the technology, they should also look at how to start a business, and keep their eyes out for opportunities.

Two of his students were Hewlett and Packard.

Re:News for nerds (1)

Gort65 (1464371) | about 2 years ago | (#42243571)

Batteries matter.

Re:News for nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243573)

Not political bullshit that doesn't matter.

Translation: please stop embarrassing The Light Bringer of Hope and Change with facts.

Re:News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243917)

For all the words on this page, there's precious little fact sprinkled in. I don't think you know what the hell you're talking about.

This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (2)

atomicxblue (1077017) | about 2 years ago | (#42243097)

The Recovery and Investment Act was supposed to stimulate America's economy, not go to further prop up a regime with numerous humans rights violations. The last thing we need is more traffic because of these cheap batteries blowing up on the interstate.

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243187)

Well said. What people forget is that China is still a COMMUNIST country where there is lots of repression. The Chinese are waging an economic war on us. The tenicales of the Communist are deep inside of the US. In San Francisco, Falun Gong practitioners were attacked by Chinese agents. The same Communist organized anit-Falun Gong protests in San Francisco China Town.

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42243459)

No they are waging an economic war on you and me, those in charge are on their team.

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42243211)

One could argue, and rather successfully if one follows the money, that the recovery act was about proping up our own government regime, which has moved to lording over its own people due to the dulcet tones of out-of-control memes.

Witness the four hundredth example of the core freedom of economic activity, again, destroying government's perverse attempt to ape it, after killing it via taxation, regulation, and uncertainty is the ongoing state of same.

No doubt, dear reader, the dulcet meme is already jerking your knee, and you are wanting to regurgitate "regulation good, business bad," while, as mentioned, ignoring the evidence before your eyes.

The economy doesn't care if free business is broken because of kickbacks to warlords or kickbacks to government or taxes to government.

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 years ago | (#42243259)

It's not that the current regime thinks more regulation is good-- that's not enough. They are purposely using overreaching regulation to create an environment ripe for corruption so that it can be said, "Look-- we tried to work with the 'free market', and it didn't work. We'll have to take over the in the interest of the general welfare."

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 2 years ago | (#42243407)

Yeah because a deregulated financial services industry is working out so well for us....

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42243751)

Perfect example. Nobody wants to talk about the miss-regulated financial industry. They want to pretend it's deregulated. Hint: Mortgage banking is one of the most regulated industries in the united states. You can go on about how the derivative market is unregulated. But you can't ignore that the mortgage market was heavily regulated and that the secondary mortgage markets worked entirely to government underwriting standards as they (Freddy and Fanny) dominated.

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42244041)

I think you may be failing to reject Republican ignorance, as your post sounds like the paranoid delusions that get so much screen-time in the wingnut-o-sphere.

It's been pretty bizarre to watch the Conservatives descend into insanity in the past 20 years. If anything leads to a socialist revolution in the U.S., it'll be the capitalist extremists who are currently putting the squeeze on us all.

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243285)

Government involvement in this case: Stimulus money for US business.
Free business: Company sells assets/IP to China.

What was your argument again?

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243293)

So we instead get "regulation kills businesses" regurgitated from you while in Bangladesh an apparel factory burned with lines of Walmart product inside.

Who is blind to the evidence in front of them?

The economy doesn't care if lives are lost because you wanted something cheaper or because you just didn't want to think about it.

Re:This contract needs to be pulled immediately! (4, Informative)

heck (609097) | about 2 years ago | (#42243847)

Except that it wasn't a grant from the RIA, it was a grant under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Technology_Vehicles_Manufacturing_Loan_Program [wikipedia.org] (passed in fall of 2008) which was part of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Independence_and_Security_Act_of_2007 [wikipedia.org] .

And the company actually had customers and contracts, but needed money to build manufacturing capacity (hence the grants). Then they had quality issues, plus Chrysler closed down its Electronic Vehicle division, and hence the bankruptcy. Of the 123 million that was actually spent, there are very large physical assets sitting in Michigan which may still be used (to, you know, employ people). The remaining 100 million was never "given" by the government to anyway; its still sitting in an approved grant account controlled by the US government. I now return you to your ranting.

How could they go out of business? (3, Interesting)

cvtan (752695) | about 2 years ago | (#42243223)

A123 had actual contracts to put batteries in cars and had actual products. Does this mean that electric car batteries are not expensive enough? This is pitiful.

Re:How could they go out of business? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243301)

their batteries had issues and had to be recalled.

demand fell so the sales never materialized.

Re:How could they go out of business? (2)

operagost (62405) | about 2 years ago | (#42243419)

Fisker backed out. This can happen to any company-- some industries demand that you put in a lot of capital with only a few large customers and take on a lot of risk initially. But these are not the kind of companies that the US government should be subsidizing. The problem is that we have a lot of progressives who think just throwing a bunch of money at anything ensures success. Or maybe they know this, and think that throwing a bunch of money at a bad business is good evidence against capitalism.

Re:How could they go out of business? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243543)

Yeah, damn all those progressives who passed the Clean Energy Act of 2007 through a divided Congress, and damn that progressive George W. Bush for signing it into law. And don't forget that those very same progressives passed the ATVM in 2008 -- not to be confused with all that progressive money they threw at failing industries with TARP.

Nothing like facts to grind freeper bandwagons to a screeching halt.

Only half of grant used (5, Informative)

heck (609097) | about 2 years ago | (#42243229)

As of 2012 $129 million of the grant was used to build plants in Michigan (Romulus and Livonia); the remaining grant money has not been tapped (the grant was extended to 2014, but with the company in bankruptcy...) Originally Johnson Controls was going to buy (and use) the plants; it is still unknown if the plants will be used, but speculation is that at least one of the plants will be used. Note that the grants were backed by all of the Michigan members of Congress, despite the party. All of them wrote letters of endorsement to the DOE. The loan program that issued the grants was created in fall of 2008. The loan program predates Obama's presidency; the company applied in January and Obama because president January 2009. Please don't make this a partisan thread. This is what looked like a promising company that had a market in 2009 and needed to build manufacturing capacity - and the market disappeared (Chrysler closing its EV division was the major hit)

Re:Only half of grant used (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243405)

Thanks for including facts in your comment. I dont have facts to back this up, but it appears that China is playing chess to our checkers. they are probably trying to own the solar/battery markets, thus own the world. now, just because we arent playing the game in the US as well as them, is no reason to give up and cede energy domination to a fascist state. China will probably keep all their production going, regardless of cost, as they know whoever comes out on top wins. Since there never has been a free market, and since every power on earth is basically free to intervene any way they want (govts controlling businesses, businesses controlling govts, govts warring on other govts, industrial espionage, citizen uprisings against govt and business, etc), the only way to play the game at the highest order is to figure out the most critical components of our world, and work like hell to be a player. the biggest game is renewable energy, hands down. if we continue to argue about whether our govt should be involved, we will lose. the argument is: how do we get involved, and how do we keep idiots like the entire republican party from having any say in the process.

Re:Only half of grant used (4, Insightful)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#42243477)

and how do we keep idiots like the entire republican party

Man, you put together an interesting argument, then I see the diarrhea oozing down your leg. When you make jackass sweeping generalizations, you need to be ignored until you learn to play better with others.

Not chess (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#42244133)

it appears that China is playing chess to our checkers

China is not playing chess, they are playing GO (wei chi in Chinese). They have the entire playing field in view and it's huge - both the real world and the board game in the analogy. In chess you have straight forward tactics and what amounts to simple strategies to achieve relatively short term goals - like isolate a pawn or pin down a piece (the king for a win). With GO the game is literally about controlling territory - vast regions or lots of small ones, it doesn't matter - quantity is the only thing that matters. It's a game of world domination.

Is that their goal? I don't know, it's just a better way to play the game.

Re:Only half of grant used (1, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#42243479)

Please don't make this a partisan thread.

Lets take a look at the Senate roll call on the bill that actually gave them this money, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

Democrats - 55 yeas - 0 nays
Republicans - 3 yeas - 38 nays
Independents - 2 yeas - 0 nays (one is an "Independent Democrat")

Now lets take a look at the House roll call on this bill:

Democrats - 244 yeas - 11 nays
Republicans - 0 yeas - 177 nays

Now, please explain why you dont want this to be a partisan issue.. it became a partisan issue when the Democrats rammed it through both houses of congress without bipartisan support.

Re:Only half of grant used (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243627)

You're a damned liar. The money in question was authorized by the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program of 2008, which predates the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. You're a partisan hack for knowingly citing the wrong legislation, placing blame on a different administration and congress altogether.

Re:Only half of grant used (1)

heck (609097) | about 2 years ago | (#42243763)

Sorry for the double posting all. Wrong funding. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Technology_Vehicles_Manufacturing_Loan_Program [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] (passed in fall of 2008) which was part of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Independence_and_Security_Act_of_2007 [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

A complete failure of cronyism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243261)

Where were A123's "campaign contributions"? Where were the elected representatives busy pulling strings to shield A123 from failure? Where's the legislation to protect them to the detriment of everyone else? Couldn't Obama have started a war and provided some demand for batteries? Democrats have a boner for Hollywood and little else. You want to survive changes of administration? Okay, have all of the following under your business plan:

Oil, corn and military hardware (republicans)
Movies, music and homosexual weddings (democrats)
Gold, guns and assorted supplies for running personal armies and outfitting strongholds (Ron Paul)

That's your Obamanation! I hope you enjoy another four years of it.

Canada also under attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243377)

Our dictator Stephen Harper will most likely sign the worst deal ever known for Canadians [leadnow.ca] if we don't stop him.

Fuck... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243461)

China and Obama!

Goverment should not finance companies (5, Insightful)

jd.schmidt (919212) | about 2 years ago | (#42243513)

Public money is best spent on things private companies can't/won't do.

The best long term thing Government can do to help the country is finance research and education that form the building blocks for new companies. By comparison there are boat loads of investment dollars floating around in the private sector, the Government has no special way of knowing who the winners will be over private investors and the dollars are less needed there anyway. Financing companies is much riskier always, I guess I can see floating a loan to an established company in a crisis, but that is about it.

Republicans and, worse yet, Democrats both have become overly hypnotized with the power of "Private Enterprise". But people who run private companies are still just people. Better for Government to refocus on what is does well and assure plentiful funding for that. So if you really want to help produce electric cars, put out money for research at Universities and have open contracts for US manufacturers to sell the Government electric cars.

Xerox Parc (4, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#42243517)

Xerox Parc were famous for innovating like hell, but being completely unable to monetize that innovation. Other people took their inventions and ran with them.

The USA is doing this on a national level. America innovates -- China, buys or steals the IP, then destroys American business, and yet people whine about the lack of 'pure' free markets, as if the beggar-thy-neighbour, merchantilist Chinese are doing everything they can to destroy Western business.

Time for people, especially the free market idealists to pull their heads out of their arses, and realise that the crypto-fascist Chinese Communist Party is waging a long, generational war against the West, and are hell bent on world domination.

When competing with the Chinese, all options must be on the table. If that means we're not simon-sure free-marketers, so what? If the government puts up seed money to kick-start American national champions and the bet turns sour, so what?

Ideological purity will get us nowhere at the end of the day. Only winning matters. Time to grow some balls, and learn how to fight as dirty as the Red Chinese.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Gov't FAIL! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243523)

I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait until the same clowns control all access to health care.

What's up with all the pro-right wing articles? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243601)

This is the Nth article with an anti-Obama / pro-right-wing slant in the past 3 days, where N is getting pretty darn large.

Seriously - did the Republicans suddenly realize that the Obama campaign used tech well in the last election, then decide to prep for 2014/2016 by purchasing a pile of astroturf or what?

It's days like these that makes reddit look better and better :(

As always, government incentives are a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42243841)

If you have to give someone free money to get them to do something, it means it is economically infeasible. Doing such things will always hurt the economy in the long run.

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