Volt Birth Watch 9: Your Tax Money Hardly at Work

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

There's a lot riding on battery-maker A123's high energy capacitors. Their technology must be improved, tested and perfected for GM's Chevy Volt to make the transition from vaporware to showroom smash. According to Red Herring (how ironic is that?), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and five blue chip companies have placed their chips on the Massachusetts-based high-tech firm: Procter & Gamble (think Duracell), Alliance Capital, Motorola (think cell phones), Qualcomm and General Electric. Not to mention YOU, the American taxpayer. OnPoint, the U.S. Army's investment arm (I'm not making that up) gave A123 a financial boost during its fourth, $40m round of venture capital fund raising. Earlier this week, existing (that's you again) and new investors added another $30m to A123's kitty. And yesterday, GE scored two Department of Energy projects worth $6.8m to "accelerate the development of plug-in hybrids." A123 will perform the research on GE's behalf. Meanwhile, A123 has a drop-deadline of 2010 to get the Volt's batteries ship-shape. If GM loses face on this one, A123 will find it a lot harder to raise funds in the future.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Mikey Mikey on Oct 25, 2007

    Correct me if I'm wrong,Is it not the a U.S Govt.goal to move away from importing oil?I agree we are still 5yrs away from a plug in car.Govt money should move research along. We have had electric motors for a long time, and batterys for a long time. I think we get the right people working on this{smart people like getting paid} it should work. Just an example from my world. We run lift trucks 24hrs a day.Even a few years ago battery changes were regular.Battery technology improved and battery change intervals got longer and longer.The new ones you just plug them in at down times.If battery technology keeps growing, and why woulldn't it ?The Chevy volt will be the right car at the right time. Glenn 126: I can't waste any more time posting.It seems that Chairman Harper wants me to go to work for the capitalist dogs.The motherland Canada needs the taxes.Gotta keep the comrades warm eh?

  • KBW KBW on Oct 25, 2007

    How else is the government going to get batteries for its killing machines of the future? This is no different than their funding of ARPANET and quite frankly who needs that piece of socialist crap.

  • Glenn126 Glenn126 on Oct 25, 2007

    Aw heck, Mikey, here in the US we're all of about 10 minutes behind you guys north of us in regards to "stupidism" (aka socialism). Didn't you read my post referring to Washington DC ("stupidism" squared)? Just wait until we get Rodamized with "stupidized medicine" after the next election - you guys north of the US border (as well as us south of the border) will have to go to England for private health care instead of an easy trip to the states, then. (The Brits have socialized medicine but also allow private medicine). What's a 2nd mortgage compared to life vs. dying while waiting on an operation? Back on post, I just wish GM, Ford and Chrysler had used the actual money they received from Uncle Sugar to actually BUILD some real hybrid cars so they'd have something competitive right now - instead of continuing to try to ram SUVs down the public's throat via "you gotta buy it now" marketing to push people into thinking they want something the probably really don't need. I'll put it another way. Friends with SUV's get into my Prius and are ASTOUNDED as to "how they can get so much room in this LITTLE car" (not realizing that they just made an oxymoron - a little car cannot have lots of room). I answer them thusly. No frame - built like an airliner (unit body). No massive engine - more room for humans. Therefore, not hugely overweight, which means mechanical parts can be shrunk, making for smaller exterior and larger interior.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Oct 25, 2007

    "If GM loses face on this one, A123 will find it a lot harder to raise funds in the future." Not to worry, they will be in Brazil before anyone knows what happened.