Troubled Battery Maker A123 Systems Taking Heat for Chinese Investor

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A Chi¬≠nese deep-pock¬≠et investor could be the solu¬≠tion to big prob¬≠lems faced by lithi¬≠um ion bat¬≠tery mak¬≠er A123 Sys¬≠tems (much con¬≠nect¬≠ed to Fisker Kar¬≠ma recalls), at least for now. A123 Sys¬≠tems signed an agree¬≠ment on August 8th with Wanx¬≠i¬≠ang Group Corp. that could bring in a $450 mil¬≠lion invest¬≠ment and give the large Chi¬≠nese auto¬≠mo¬≠tive com¬≠po¬≠nents man¬≠u¬≠fac¬≠tur¬≠er an 80% own¬≠er¬≠ship stake. The deal brings in the need¬≠ed cash flow and places A123 Sys¬≠tems in the Chi¬≠nese mar¬≠ket with ample oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties for vehi¬≠cle elec¬≠tri¬≠fi¬≠ca¬≠tion and ener¬≠gy stor¬≠age. There are a few crit¬≠ics, though. Bob Lutz, the ex-vice chair¬≠man at GM who shep¬≠herd¬≠ed the Chevy Volt and who is now an investor in plug-in hybrid pick¬≠up mak¬≠er Via Motors, had a few jabs to throw at the deal in a Forbes com¬≠men¬≠tary, includ¬≠ing this one: ‚ÄúThere will be no need for a mil¬≠i¬≠tary con¬≠flict against an over¬≠whelm¬≠ing¬≠ly supe¬≠ri¬≠or force: the Chi¬≠nese will sim¬≠ply buy the coun¬≠try, a lit¬≠tle piece at a time.‚ÄĚ

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