Fail: Green car battery maker goes bankrupt

$55 million in taxpayer money down Obama’s green rathole.

BusinessWeek reports,

Ener1 Inc., which owns a company that received a $118 million U.S. Energy Department grant to make electric-car batteries, filed for bankruptcy protection after defaulting on bond debt amid Asian competition.

The company listed assets of $73.9 million and debt of $90.5 million as of Dec. 31 in Chapter 11 papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Ener1 has been affected by competing battery developers in China and South Korea, “which generally have a lower cost manufacturing base” and lower labor and raw material costs, interim Chief Executive Officer Alex Sorokin said in the petition.

Ener1, based in New York, makes lithium-ion batteries for plug-in electric cars, which were scrutinized by federal auto- safety officials after a General Motors Co. Chevrolet Volt caught fire, people familiar with the probe said in November. A two-month federal safety investigation cleared the Volt of danger, and GM is beginning a marketing effort to tout the car as safe and innovative.

Under President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package, the Energy Department awarded grants in an attempt to create a U.S. electric-car industry. Ener1’s EnerDel unit, based in Indianapolis, was the grant recipient and has received about $55 million of its grant so far…

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