For a minute there, things were looking kind of grim for one of the hottest names in cleantech.
A123Systems, if you recall, is the much-buzzed-about battery maker that's worked with both General Motors
However this momentum got thrown into reverse when GM dropped A123, tapping LG Chem to supply its Chevy Volt instead. Foolish colleague Rich Smith called this move specifically shameless, and I have to agree. It's pretty poor form to choose a foreign supplier over a local provider at a time when you're waving the flag with one hand and reaching for a massive bailout with the other.
But, with that unfortunate episode behind it, A123 has been recharged over the past week, with Chrysler seeking the firm's battery packs to power a line of five electric-drive vehicles. Further, the firm today announced a $69 million funding round, with GE, ConocoPhillips
The next key step for A123 will be to secure a loan from the Department of Energy to build a massive Michigan manufacturing base. The $1.84 billion request dwarfs the award recently dished out to solar start-up Solyndra, but considering the ailing state of Detroit, A123 might just pull this one out of the hat. The potential revitalizing effect on our shaky automotive industry is probably too good to pass up, and if I were the DOE, I would probably pick A123 over fellow fund-seeker USEC