Lithium Ion Phosphate Auto Battery cell
When lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 systems declared bankruptcy last October, the move left Fisker Automotive without a battery supplier
for its Karma plug-in hybrid luxury sedan.Fisker
downplayed the drama, insisting that it had sufficient inventory for the near future, and that the sale of A123 Systems’ assets would likely be completed quickly. In December, Chinese auto parts supplier Wanxiang outbid a U.S. firm, Johnson Controls, for the pieces of A123 Systems, but that was hardly the end of the story.
Although Wanxiang excluded military contracts from its bid for A123’s assets, Reuters
points out that members of Congress, in conjunction with former military leaders, still asked a U.S. committee on foreign investment to block the sale on the grounds that it would deliver sensitive data into the hands of the Chinese.
Sources are now reporting that the deal has been approved, meaning that Wanxiang will acquire the non-defense related business of A123 Systems for a reported $257 million. While a timeline to resume production has not yet been established, the approval is good news for both Fisker and BMW, which also uses A123 cells in its ActiveHybrid vehicles.
It’s no secret that Fisker has endured a rough year, which began with a series of recalls for battery
, software and cooling
issues. Superstorm Sandy destroyed some 300 Karma sedans
sitting at Port Newark, and Fisker’s insurer has denied payment on its claim
, forcing the struggling automaker into expensive litigation.
While the resumption of its lithium-ion battery supply is the first good news Fisker has seen in a while, its long-term prosperity still depends on the automaker attracting new partners
or new investors. Could new supplier Wanxiang bring new prospective suitors to the table? Stranger things have happened, we suppose.