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A123 Bankruptcy Filing Underscores Slow Going for EVs

Posted by Dale Buss on October 17, 2012 11:05 AM

The electrified-vehicle business is bristling with news these days: General Motors said that it will begin production of a new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid by late next year, for instance. And Toyota has just begun bringing its new Scion iQ EV to the U.S., initially for car-sharing programs.

But by far the biggest news is a body blow to the fledgling industry: A123 Systems, one of the largest makers of batteries specifically for EVs and hybrids — and personally touted by President Obama as an exemplar of his "green jobs" policies — has filed for bankruptcy. Johnson Controls, a conventional-battery giant and growing manufacturer of batteries for electrified vehicles as well, wants to buy pieces of the expected carcass.

Mildly encouraged by greater traction for the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in or "extended-range" hybrid that can run on a gasoline engine as well as in all-electric mode, GM said it will build the new Caddy in the same Detroit plant where Volt is assembled, and with a similar powertrain. When it goes on sale, ELR will be the first electric luxury coupe with an extended range, GM North America President Mark Reuss said.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: P&G, Google, Twitter & more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2012 09:03 AM

In the News

BMW recalls SUVs that could roll away when parked.

Callaway Golf launches Las Vegas stunt promotion.

Caterpillar voices optimism about global economy and earnings.

Cold Stone Creamery gets sued by franchisees.

Eastman buys specialty-chemical peer Solutia.

Ener1 files for bankruptcy.

Ford is nicked by European losses.

Google spent $2 billion on acquisitions in 2011.Continue reading...

brand r.i.p.

Sun Sets on Solyndra ... and Obama's Green Jobs Hopes?

Posted by Dale Buss on September 2, 2011 11:28 AM

When you're the president and Exhibit A in one of your centerpiece economic-development plans turns into a huge disappointment, the fallout is likely to be intensely negative. And we're not talking here about the $800 billion economic-stimulus program that President Obama launched in 2009.

Instead, it's the president's much-vaunted "green-jobs" strategy. And the brand under fire in this situation is Solyndra, a California-based solar-panel manufacturer that last week shut its doors and is now filing for bankruptcy protection despite receiving a $535-million federal loan guarantee and about $1 billion in venture capital.

The company, based in Fremont, Calif., was the first to receive funds under the Energy Department's loan-guarantee program for the clean-technology industry. Last year, President Obama visited Solyndra (its biggest US solar-panel contract: PepsiCo's Frito-Lay plant in Modesto, Calif.) and touted it for creating jobs. But facing competition from larger panel-makers, including some in China, Solyndra began to shrink almost before its new factory was built.Continue reading...

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