PLEDGE NOW
China & U.S. Battery Technology

Green America’s big-time battery innovator A123 got millions in taxpayer support. Now China’s snatching up the company, and its knowledge.

An A123 Systems Inc. high power Nanophospate Lithium Ion Cell for Hybrid Electric Vehicles battery is shown Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 in Livonia, Mich. (AP)

An A123 Systems Inc. high power Nanophospate Lithium Ion Cell for Hybrid Electric Vehicles battery is shown Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 in Livonia, Mich. (AP)

A123, the American company at the forefront of research and innovation in new wave batteries for electric cars, won a quarter-billion dollar nod of support from the US government.

Now it’s in trouble, and turning to a Chinese company to bail it out. After all that US taxpayer subsidy, it may end up 80 percent Chinese-owned. Is that a problem? It’s certainly head-turning.

New research on energy storage – batteries – is key to a green energy future. China and the US both know it. This hour, On Point: the energy storage frontier, batteries, and the A123 story.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Ramsey, automotive reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Dunne, president of the Hong Kong-based strategic marketing firm Dunne & Company and author of “American Wheels, Chinese Roads: The Story of General Motors in China.”

Donald Sadoway, professor of materials chemistry at MIT.

Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “A company that two years ago was one of the most promising U.S. innovators in the clean-fuel auto industry was rescued from collapse Wednesday. Its buyer: A Chinese auto-parts company.”

Businessweek “A123 Systems Inc. (AONE)’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.”

New York Times “Lauded during a visit by President Obama, A123 Systems was supposed to be a centerpiece of his administration’s effort to use $2 billion in government subsidies to jump-start production of sophisticated electric batteries in the United States.”

Excerpt: “American Wheels, Chinese Roads: The Story of General Motors in China”

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 3, 2015
A television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the decision of the Federal Reserve, on July 29, 2015. The Federal Reserve may raise interest rates soon. (Richard Drew/AP)

Should the fed finally raise interest rates? In spite of the stock market roller coaster? We’ll dig into the fed weighing the end of free money.

Sep 3, 2015
Journalists protest the murder of photojournalist Ruben Espinosa Becerril in Mexico City, on Aug. 2, 2015. (Marco Ugarte/AP)

Three Vice News journalists arrested in Turkey. A wave of journalists in prison. In graves. We’ll look at journalists worldwide under pressure.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 2, 2015
Actor Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar, in the Netflix Original Series "Narcos." (Daniel Daza/Netflix via AP)

A new Netflix series “Narcos” takes on the story of the rise of the “King of Cocaine” — Pablo Escobar. We’ll look at drug trafficking then and now.

 
Sep 2, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley addresses the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone/AP)

We talk to Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor and now Democratic candidate for the presidency. He’s been tough on Trump – and on his fellow Democrats.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Martin O’Malley On The ‘Rigged’ Democratic Debates, And What America Needs
Wednesday, Sep 2, 2015

Former Baltimore mayor and Democratic Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has single digits in the polls in Iowa but is out there swinging. He joined host Tom Ashbrook on Wednesday.

More »
4 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments