Bankruptcies in lithiumion battery market slow sales of electric …

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Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

Bankruptcies in lithium-ion battery slow sales of electric

Posted: 07/22/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT

texas The country’s advanced makers waited years in cases, decades for the day electric would go mainstream.

Yet now, as cars such as the Nissan and the Chevrolet Volt are becoming brands, two of the country’s top lithium-ion makers are teetering on the brink of

Austin-based Valence Technology tipped over the edge with the announcement that it had for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was a new source of funding that boost its working capital and it to continue operating.

The battery maker’s announcement less than a week Massachusetts-based A123 Systems told investors that it had five months of cash for its operations and would move to more funding in the interim.


had raised $378 million an initial public offering in The following year, it hauled in a million grant from the administration. Five months now, who knows?

A123 it was raising $39 million to handle its cash crunch, but the company still join Solyndra, the Silicon Valley solar company, on a scrap-heap of government-subsidized bankruptcies.

If Valence’s 23 years of experience and the of the plug-in electric car market a sign of what’s to come, U.S. battery makers need a lot more cash and before their income can their expenses.

Lithium are difficult to manufacture, said Saxman, an analyst at BCC Research. You make lead-acid batteries in garage. For lithium, you need a room, (and) there are of quality assurance problems.

a company works through the manufacturing quality issues, it needs a market that can buy battery systems to start off those costs.

Barring that, it needs or investors who have a lot of money and a view, Saxman said.

got the former. Valence has the latter: billionaire Carl Berg, the chairman and the holder of about 44 of the company’s stock.

Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

In a regulatory Valence said that the exchange had suspended trading of its and noted that it currently Berg and his companies $69.1 in loans.

Berg, who abstained the board’s vote to file for stands to lose much of the than $100 million he has in the company since it launched in

There was no clear indication Berg was withdrawing his support of but it’s clear neither nor A123 can count on a large revenue jump in the foreseeable

Plug-in electric car prices dropped, and the number of models has over the past 18 months, but cars still make up than 1 percent of total sales.

In 2011, fewer 18,000 plug-in electric were sold in the United said Dave Hurst, analyst at Pike Research. projects about 48,000 electrics to sell in the U.S. year compared with a for 13.3 million cars and trucks overall.

Cost and range anxiety to plague full-electric vehicles, and by the lithium-ion battery makers.

The of the lithium battery has reached a mature stage, said Goodenough, an engineering professor at the of Texas and the godfather of lithium-ion technology. But they have to get the down and capacity up so people can a longer driving range. range anxiety the idea you might run out of power halfway has pushed many people hybrids, which are cheaper and clean enough to salve consumers’ environmental conscience.

Most hybrids use a different of battery technology.

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