Volt Birth Watch 9: Your Tax Money Hardly at Work
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.