But the start-up was besieged by problems, including malfunctions and fires in its batteries and a heavy reliance on a single troubled buyer, carmaker Fisker Automotive.
. . . A123 is the fifth prominent clean-energy firm the Obama administration subsidized with loans or grants that has filed for bankruptcy protection, joining solar firms Solyndra and Abound Solar, energy firm Beacon Power, and battery company Ener1. Solyndra, whose lead investor was linked to a key Obama donor, is often cited by Republicans as a prime example of “cronyism” in Obama’s stimulus program.
. . . President Obama had touted A123 as a job creator and illustration of his stimulus program at work. He made a highly publicized call to A123’s Livonia plant for its 2010 opening and said the plant signaled “the birth of an entire new industry in America.”
. . . A Johnson Controls spokesman said the firm intends to use A123’s technology but does not know specifically how it will use its battery plant. Johnson Controls won a $299 million stimulus grant to build two battery plants. It is running one at half-capacity and has put off plans to build the second.
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