PHOTO CAPTION: David Vieau (right) with President Obama at White House announcement.

A123 Technologies CEO Defends Chinese Financial Rescue

David Vieau sees 80% stake in A123 by Wanxiang as saving American jobs.

Published: 13-Aug-2012

A123 Systems Inc.'s chief executive officer said the company's financial rescue by China's largest auto-parts maker will preserve U.S. jobs, after the agreement drew criticism from congressional Republicans.

A123, a maker of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, has a factory in Livonia. The company may get financing worth as much as $450 million from Wanxiang Group Corp. The deal that may give Wanxiang an 80 percent stake in Waltham, Mass.-based A123, recipient of a $249 million federal grant for U.S. factory construction, is opposed by Representative Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican.

The federal funds "can only be used for building factories in North America and the creation of jobs, and that's what's been done," said David Vieau, A123's president and CEO. "This is a step toward financing the company so we can continue on that mission."


Lola Drayson electric LMP racer.

Drayson Racing designed its Le Mans-style electric racer around A123 System's nano-structured lithium ion chemistry.

Illustration of A123 Systems energy storage bank.

While the electric car battery side of the business proved to slow developing to save A123, the grid storage business appears to be where the most immediate opportunity lies.

Chevrolet Spark EV on display at 2013 NAIAS is equipped with A123 System lithium batteries.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approves auction of A123 to Chinese parts supplier, which generates $1 billion in U.S. revenues supply parts to GM and Ford Motor co.


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