Lithium Battery Maker Bankrupt

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Ike, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    The following is not directly related to boat building but is related through the production of lithium ion batteries, which are now becoming more common on some high end yachts.

    Of course since this is an election year the Republicans will blame it on Obama, and the Democrats will blame it on George Bush, but really neither one has much to do with why the company failed. It failed because of global economics, and foreign manufacturers (mostly chinese) producing a much cheaper product.

    Battery builder A123 Systems that won $249 million federal grant files for bankruptcy

    http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motora...-won-249-million-federal-grant-143806554.html Today, A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy, saying much of its assets would be sold after losing $857 million over the past several years. Here's why it failed.
     
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  2. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    And in Europe, there are quite a few cars (usually diesels) that get over sixty mpg but I don't see them anywhere around here. We don't need hybrids. We need simple, reliable cars that get great gas mileage. Hybrids cost more in fuel and resources to make than their actual use saves.
    What we need is a government that supports a kind of car that weighs 1500 lbs. carries four adults, sips diesel or gas, and drives fast enough to travel on highways. They could reward buyers by taxing the purchase of cars that don't meet the best mileage standards.
    Companies don't need free help. Consumers do need incentives. They are far more fickle than car companies, who will always do the most profitable thing, and don't need to be shown how.
     
  3. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Only a fool votes a tax against himself.
     
  4. Jeremy Harris
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    Jeremy Harris Senior Member

    We've had cars that do this sort of MPG, or better for years. Nothing to do with government incentives at all, just economic necessity. When European fuel prices become the norm in the US (currently we pay around $8.50 per US gallon for petrol and around $8.80 per US gallon for diesel) then maybe people will demand the smaller, lighter, far more economical cars that are pretty much the norm here.

    A123 were never going to cut it in the electric car market, as they sat on their technology, with little in the way of development, and were quickly overtaken by newer, better, technologies. I guess that's one big problem with being reliant on taxpayer handouts, it takes away some of the commercial incentive.

    Still, before they went bust they sold a fair bit of their technology to China, so I think we will see much improved and cheaper versions of A123's old product before too long.
     
  5. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    So true. Back in 1970 or 71, I was working at a shipyard in Seattle and one of the Naval Architects I worked with was from Hamburg. He told me about the fuel efficient cars. Of course when he got to the states the car he bought was a Mustang with the biggest V8 ford had. He said that this was his chance to own what he called a luxury car with a big engine without having to be taxed because of the big engine.

    Shortly there after we went into a recession (the unemployment rate in Seattle in 1972 was 18% and we were getting food aid from the Japanese) so he went back to Hamburg.

    Any way I posted this thread to talk about lithium batteries. The US is really conceding this technology to the Chinese, which is a damn shame because most of the research has been done here.
     
  6. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    I could not agree more with everything said. I have considered a hybrid and nearly bought a Geo Metro but ended up buying a 1996 Passat Tdi back in 06, best car i ever owned, got better mileage than almost anything sold in the US, mid 50s on the highway without any hypermileing, unfortunatly i wrecked it after putting 60000 absolutly trouble free miles, i now drive an 05passat TDI wagon which unfortunatly gets about 15mpg less on the highway, bigger, heavier,more polution control stuff i guess. The problem for me with Alans 1500lb car is that i need roof length for a roof rack(in the back until i need it) and the ability to tow something, i towed a 19ft beachcat 1300 miles including through the mountains of west virginia with the old passat and never got less than 30mpg, i have yet to see a hybrid with a hitch, whats up with that? to me that make them a womans car only. i would love to have the choices of diesels that are available to the rest of the world.

    Steve.
     
  7. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Whats up with that is simple engineering. Most auto makers have gone to lighter frames or even monocoque construction, and to light electronically controlled transmissions and drive trains. This is to achieve economy. But it also means no towing. The transmissions and drive trains, as well as the car itself are simply not strong enough to tow anything weighing more than a few hundred pounds.

    I found this out when I owned a 1989 Mercedes Benz 300E, a wagon, and wanted to tow a small utility trailer. Couldn't do it. Even though the trans had an oil cooler it would still burn up the transmission. That's a car supposedly designed by the best auto engineers in the world, that weighs over 3000 lbs and has about 200 HP. At $3500 for a new tranny it's just not worth it. It's cheaper to rent a U-Haul.

    I recently bought an 18 foot Sea Ray and had no way to tow it. I ended up buying a Chevy Trailblazer that gets 18 mpg. That's after driving a Chevy Cavalier for 8 years that gets 30 mpg. What a let down.

    Back in the 70's I owned several Opels all which got in excess of 30 mpg. And that's with the crappy environmental controls we had back then. If I had taken that stuff off the engines they would have probably gotten 35 mpg or better.
     
  8. Jeremy Harris
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    Jeremy Harris Senior Member

    I've got a hitch on my Prius. It tows small boats just fine. AFAIK, hitches have been available for at least the last two generations of Prius Hybrids, as I've had them on both of mine.

    FWIW, the Prius (at least here) is at least as economical as any other similar size and weight diesel. My 2010 does 60+ MPG pretty much all the time. Not great value for the economy I get, for sure, but I just happen to like the way these cars drive (I bought my first Prius in 2005, and have sort of stuck with them since).
     
  9. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    When Europe moves away from the socialist model and taxes go down so will the price of your petrol. Well over $5 of every gallon you buy is tax, not product.

    There are a lot of disadvantages to lithium batteries.
     
  10. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    But high fuel tax IS a government incentive. And to be honest an effective one and simple to implement. Much smarter in my opinion than specific taxes for certain models.

    Of course in US political environment suggesting raising taxes on fuel would render a candidate un-electable in about 5 seconds. Even if it meant reducing the tax burden from income side.

    That being said hybrids are not bad. I am just about to buy a car and will go with a diesel but all in all hybrids are not bad when done well. And I don't believe the "more energy spent in creating the battery than ever saved". Can someone actually point a source for this?
     
  11. kerosene
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    kerosene Senior Member

    "According to an in-depth study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, hybrid cars do, in fact, require more energy to produce than conventional cars, emitting more greenhouse gases and burning more fossil fuels during the manufacturing process. The production of hybrid batteries, in particular, requires much more energy than producing a standard car battery and results in higher emission levels of gases like sulfur oxide [source: Burnham et al].
    But do the environmental impacts of hybrid vehicle production outweigh the long-term benefits of driving a cleaner running automobile? That answer is a resounding "no." If you drive both a conventional and hybrid car for 160,000 miles (257,495 kilometers), the conventional vehicle requires far more energy to operate and emits far more greenhouse gases over its lifetime, significantly canceling out any imbalance during the production stage [source: Burnham et al]."
     
  12. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

  13. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

  14. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    I am afraid it is not so simple. High fuel taxes are one of main reasons why Italian economy has entered a recession with no foreseeable light at the end of the tunnel. Some 60% of the high fuel price is due to taxes of various nature. However, the people needs cars to keep doing their jobs. So whatever the price of the fuel, people simply have to buy it. And the industries too have to pay high energy and goods transport bills due to high fuel prices.
    The end result is dramatic - families are running out of money, industries are out of competition with foreign counterparts, the unemployment is rising, the internal economy is record low, the tax revenues are shrinking, the State cannot pay it's contractors, which cannot pay their employees, so the families are running out of money etc. all over again. It's a vicious circle.
    So, for God sake, better find some other methods of making incentives.
     

  15. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    What I believe: Shrink the size of the State bureaucracy. Make cuts in taxes accordingly. Do business with private entities. Our economies will then stabilize.
     
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