Paul Chesser's blog

Timeline: A123 Systems' Downward Spiral to Bankruptcy

A123 logoAs Bloomberg reported today, stimulus-funded electric vehicle battery maker A123 Systems filed bankruptcy in federal court after failing to make a debt payment that was due. Milwaukee Business Times has reported that Johnson Controls will purchase the “automotive business assets” of A123 for $125 million, and that A123 will receive from Johnson $72.5 million in “debtor in possession” financing to continue operating during the sale process.

Regular readers won’t be surprised, as the company’s gradual sink to its current depths – despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers – has been covered by NLPC since late last year. A review:

Government Love for Failing A123 Systems Was Unconditional

A123 logoAs stimulus-funded ($249 million-plus) A123 Systems sees its stock price drop back near its all-time low and waits for a Chinese rescue, two Republican senators want answers about whether taxpayer dollars are again funding jobs and technology that will be transferred overseas.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking minority member on the Judiciary Committee, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune queried A123 CEO David Vieau about the logistics of a proposed sale to China-based Wanxiang Group Corp. In August, just as the company reported another $82.9 million in second-quarter losses, a deal was announced in which Wanxiang would deliver $75 million in initial loans and then would buy $200 million of senior secured convertible notes, followed by a possible $175 million “through the exercise of warrants it would receive in connection with the bridge loan and convertible notes.” If fully consummated, the end result could mean A123 ends up 80 percent Chinese.

DOE Hiding Truth About Bankrupt Abound Solar's Defective Panels

Abound logoAs the now-bankrupt stimulus loan recipient Abound Solar filed for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy in early July thanks largely to its defective modules, the Department of Energy still praised the company’s work as “innovative” and cost competitive, all while it blamed Abound’s failure on China for dumping underpriced panels on the market.

And now, despite the fact that Abound no longer exists, DOE is still withholding public information about the company because it claims it would harm the inactive business’s competitive edge by disclosing trade secrets.

Asthmatic Subjected to EPA Experiments; Inhofe Wants Hearing

A former student at the University of North Carolina has come forward publicly to call attention to the disturbing experiments the Environmental Protection Agency has conducted – and is likely still performing – at its Human Studies Facility in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Meanwhile Sen. James Inhofe (pictured), ranking minority member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, has requested that Chairman Barbara Boxer conduct a hearing about EPA’s activities during the current lame-duck session.

Consumer Reports: Fisker Karma the Worst Luxury Sedan

Fisker logoIt’s been six months since the taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million) Fisker Karma broke down at the test facilities of Consumer Reports before the publication could even take it for a review spin, but now the researchers have finally been able to put the luxury electric car through its paces and their assessment is complete.

Verdict: fail.

Why did it take so long for the car loved by Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore to get the full evaluation? Consumer Reports explains:

EPA Sued Over Heinous Experiments on Humans

Lisa JacksonAfter accumulating evidence via the Freedom of Information Act that showed the Environmental Protection Agency conducted disturbing experiments that exposed humans to inhalable particulates the agency has said are deadly, sound science advocate Steven Milloy has sued the federal government

Taxpayer-Funded EV Company Abandons IPO It Thought Would Save It

Frito Lay Electric TruckThe failing British electric vehicle company that pretended to become an American one in order to save its U.K. investors has scrapped its planned initial public offering that it hoped would save it in Kansas City.

Smith Electric Vehicles, recipient of $32 million in taxpayer stimulus, had reportedly fantasized it would raise $76 million (down from $125 million) via an IPO by selling roughly 4 ½ million shares at $16 to $18 each. CEO Bryan Hansel bowed to reality Thursday night and rescinded those plans.

Government Stimulus Can't Overcome 100 Years of EV Battery Shortcomings

Nissan logoIt’s the battery.

Contrary to the excuses that Nissan has supplied about the loss of capacity for owners of the all-electric Leaf in the desert Southwest – especially super-hot Phoenix – a tightly-controlled test of a dozen of the vehicles showed that all of them experienced reduced range. Even a month-old Leaf could not recharge to 100 percent.

SEC Issues Big Fines, Penalties Against Green-Tech Investment Firm

A123 logoThe venture capital redistributionist game that surrounds President Obama’s green energy stimulus doesn’t necessarily require the actual delivery of taxpayer cash to crony corporations. Sometimes the malfeasance appears simply based upon the false promise of government “investment.”

Nissan Integrity at Stake in Leaf Owners' Battery Test

Nissan Leaf photoIn what looks like an attempt to avoid a potentially costly and disastrous recall of its taxpayer-funded electric vehicles, Nissan has dismissed the concerns of its Leaf customers in Arizona and other hot states by claiming the apparent loss of battery capacity is “normal.”

Owners of the company’s dismal selling plug-in have banded together to collectively test their vehicles and see just how “normal” their loss of “bars” on their power indicators are.

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