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The bankruptcy filing caused a halt in Ford Transit Connect production

While the electric vehicle (EV) industry seems to be moving forward in many ways, it has also experienced some setbacks over the last year. Unfortunately, many of these setbacks involve EV batteries, and now, Ford is in the same boat.

Azure Dynamics, a British Columbia-based EV firm, has filed for bankruptcy in the United States. Azure Dynamics is responsible for installing the battery electric powertrain in Ford's Transit Connect.

Azure Dynamics filed for bankruptcy on Monday, and was forced to lay off 120 employees worldwide. Layoffs occurred in Boston, Michigan, Canada and the United Kingdom.

In addition to layoffs, Azure Dynamics said it will no longer proceed with a planned stock offering because the company just doesn't have the liquidity to move forward with an appeal of a ruling that opposed its planned stock offering.

"We wish to convey to the company's stakeholders our terrible sadness at this outcome," said Azure Dynamics in a statement.

Azure Dynamics received a four-year contract from the Government Services Administration for about $112 million. The contract gave the U.S. military and government agencies the ability to order the Transit Connect EV, and Azure said it had about 2,200 orders. In addition, Azure was attracted to Michigan because of the state tax credit, which is over $1.7 million over a seven-year period, and an 11-year local tax abatement approved by the city of Oak Park valued at $55,400.

On Ford's side of the situation, the bankruptcy means having to stop production of the Transit Connect EV, and it's currently unclear if this situation will be temporary or permanent.

So far, Ford has produced 500 EV Ford Transit Connect vehicles since 2010, when it began its partnership with Azure. Despite Azure's recent news of bankruptcy, Ford is standing behind the company.

"Our priority is to ensure that Azure's Transit Connect Electric customers continue to have support throughout their ownership experience," said Wes Sherwood, Ford spokesman.

Azure definitely isn't the only EV battery company (or alternative energy company) to file for bankruptcy within the past year. In January, EV battery maker Ener1 filed for bankruptcy after its subsidiary, EnerDel, received a $118 million Department of Energy grant in August 2009. Other EV battery issues that have occurred recently include General Motors' Chevrolet Volt, which experienced a series of battery fires last year, and problems with Fisker Automotive's Karma plug-in hybrid batteries, which will be replaced entirely by A123 Systems Inc. for $55 million.

Other failed alternative energy companies that have filed for bankruptcy include solar panel company Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the government despite warnings of Solyndra's viability, and Beacon Power, which received nearly $43 million from the government in August 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in November 2011.

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: The Green Bubble
By texbrazos on 3/28/2012 12:11:44 PM , Rating: 0
I am not for govt. handing out money, but the oil industry has received trillions of dollars over the years and is still getting money. It has created an uneven playing field for a long time. It is only fair to allow others, a shot a helping America become 100% energy independent, especially since the oil industry keeps getting these handouts year after year.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Spuke on 3/28/2012 12:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
I challenge you to explain how chump change from the government to oil companies making record profits in the BILLIONS compares to the government almost COMPLETELY funding these startups.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 4:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
I challenge you to explain how chump change from the government to oil companies making record profits in the BILLIONS compares to the government almost COMPLETELY funding these startups.

Spuke there's such a massive disconnect between the two, no explanation can exist in the real world.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: The Green Bubble
By Amedean on 3/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 4:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
A trade deficit is quite a different thing than saying "industry X received trillions in handouts". Try reading before making comments.

Unless you are calling a trade deficit a handout and blaming a corporation for it existing. In which case we can stop this debate now and label you a troll.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Amedean on 3/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 4:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
Right off the bat you show yourself as a troll with the whole "war for oil" bullcrap. Are you serious with this?

Tell that to all the Iraq war vets and tax payers financing with blood and money costly wars overseas.

Wow. Not even Liberals are saying we went to war for oil anymore. You need to update your arguments.

You sound like a radical idiot who will not listen to any reason, however, this is your one chance to prove me wrong.

Try looking into the CBO and links that end with ".gov" instead.

Oh my, what do we have here! Apparently the CBO is saying that renewable energy is far more heavily subsidized by tax carveouts than any other energy sector, including fossil fuels. The chart does not, however, take into account the level of those subsidies in proportion to the amount of energy that each sector creates. By that measure, renewables’ federal subsidies are even more lopsided. Wind energy companies, for instance, get about 1000 times the subsidies that oil companies do, per kilowatt-hour of energy produced.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Amedean on 3/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: The Green Bubble
By Amedean on 3/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 7:39:41 PM , Rating: 1
I respect your service and thank you for it. And, not that it should matter in an argument, I was unable to qualify for military service due to a knee disability. Otherwise I damn well would have answered the call.

However when you say things like "black cocaine" you just come off like someone who's running with a Liberal talking point.

Furthermore unless you buy into some conspiracy theory that Bush "started the war" to get his "oil buddies" more profits, the war ultimately helped destabilize the oil supply. Which I fail to see how that would benefit the country in any way. Not to mention that we didn't even secure oil when we easily had the opportunity to.

The industry didn't benefit either. Oil company profits go up and up, true. However on further analysis, we see "big oil" profit margins getting slimmer and slimmer as the cost of crude skyrockets. A situation NO business want's to be in.

In closing following your logical progression and support for alternative energy, does this mean that soon we'll be going to war with China over their rare earths that are needed to fuel the green movement?

RE: The Green Bubble
By Amedean on 3/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 8:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
I have to be honest that the partisan politics has been a growing thorn in my side and when I see so so many people polarized by ideology it has been tremendously discouraging and sometimes I pounce.

You and me both brother.

And no worries, we're a lot the same. I appreciate a spirited debate.

RE: The Green Bubble
By ritualm on 3/28/2012 5:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
Do you realize that, without any government support, every so-called "green" energy initiative will simply die at the brainstorming stage? There is no public demand for environmentally friendly tech, and the only way to raise that is to make fossil fuel-based solutions look expensive. That it actually costs many times more than its subsidized price is not important, even from a government standpoint.

EVs without subsidies and tax breaks are priced out of reach for most companies, never mind consumers.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 5:58:55 PM , Rating: 1
No he doesn't.

The way these people talk it's almost as if fossil fuels and green energy have always been equally viable, with the only difference being that "they" picked fossil fuels first and "subsidized" it.

What a bunch of baloney.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Paj on 3/29/2012 7:29:31 AM , Rating: 1
No energy industry could survive without government subsidies. This goes for oil, gas, coal, renewables, nuclear.

The International Energy Agency has said that excessive subsidies for fossil fuels is the biggest barrier to greater takeup of renewables.

Pricing of fossil fuels fails to take direct externalities into account - transportation, refining, storage - as well as more nebulous costs such as environmental damage, the human and economic costs of conflict (re: Iraq, Nigeria). These latter factors, while definitely present, are far more difficult to put into dollar terms.

RE: The Green Bubble
By Qapa on 3/28/2012 8:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
That is quite a fallacy...

(I have no idea about the numbers so I'm going to follow yours)

Gov gets 23 cents/gallon @ pump -> from PEOPLE
Gov gives 2 cents/gallon @ pump -> to oil companies

So, it is exactly the same as giving money to finance green initiatives.

Additionally, you'd probably need to take into account, that part of oil is imported, so that is depleting the economy...

So here are the money trails:
- people -> gov (this is what you call profit from oil!!)
- people -> oil -> part to other countries
- gov -> oil -> part to other countries

This doesn't seem positive in any way... and no profit whatsoever except for oil companies, some of which might be domestic, but a large chunk is not domestic.

So, trying to break these money trails seems like a good idea... but not at any cost...

I understand and agree, giving money to finance that, should be done carefully... like, making sure that there is also some (for instance 50%) from other investors, and probably a lot more conditions.

RE: The Green Bubble
By DockScience on 3/30/2012 11:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
Let me guess, you think that having the oil companies pay less of THEIR money to the gov't in taxes is the same as the Gov't cutting a check of OUR money to the oil companies.


RE: The Green Bubble
By Qapa on 4/1/2012 11:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
That doesn't even make sense!

As you can easily see in the money trails I posted above:
- there is 0 money going from oil companies to gov't
- there is money going from gov't to oil companies (subsidies)

RE: The Green Bubble
By DoseOfReality on 3/28/2012 1:06:22 PM , Rating: 2
What "handouts" are the oil companies getting specifically?

From what I've seen, the government is not giving the oil industry "handouts". The government is just letting the oil industry get the same tax breaks that are available to other businesses as well. I'm all for getting rid of the tax breaks, as long as you get rid of them for all businesses that get those same types of tax beaks, and not just single the oil companies out because that serves a leftist political agenda.

Oil companies have large infrastructures to put in place, maintain etc., and a lot of risk has to be managed by them for what they do. I would consider these companies to be making excessive profits if they were reaping a much higher average profit margin that most other businesses enjoy for anywhere near the same risk/reward equation. That is simply just not the case from what I've seen.

I don't hate big profitable companies just because it is in political vogue to demonize them.

RE: The Green Bubble
By BobfromLI on 3/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: The Green Bubble
By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 3:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
Your information is patently false at best. I accuse you of flat out lying. Anyone doing even the most minimal research on this subject would find oil companies pay massive amounts of taxes.

Little to nothing? Just the top 3 companies paid $42 BILLION in income taxes alone in 2010. Comparing gross profits with taxes paid, most oil companies have a tax rate in the 40% bracket!

Your comment about Exxon is especially absurd. World wide Exxon paid $89 BILLION in taxes in 2010. Tax refund? Prove it please.

Handouts and not paying taxes? Enough of the lies and rhetoric. I want these statements backed up by some facts. If you can.

RE: The Green Bubble
By ConnecticutYankee on 3/29/2012 12:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
Bob I congratulate you on being an inventor. This is the spirit and innovation that drives our country forward.

However it is factual incorrect and wrong to claim the oil industry pays little or nothing in income taxes.

Most of the oil companies in the US or operating in the US are publicly traded firms. As a result anyone can pull a 10-k on these firms from the SEC.GOV or SEDAR.COM for Canadian domiciled entities and quickly determine the total tax liabilities these firms pay.

For Exxon - they paid per their 10-K in 2011 a total of $31.05 billion in income taxes, $33.503 billin in sales based taxes, and an additional $43.544 billion in all other taxes and duties for a total of $108.098 billion.

Did Exxon receive tax incentives, tax credits, depletion credits ??? Sure they did, but not enough to offset the total tax liabilities they owe the U.S. and other countries they operate in.

You can argue that the tax system should be reformed. However, to say that the oil majors pay little to no tax is wrong. They pay what they are legally obligated to remit.

RE: The Green Bubble
By knutjb on 3/29/2012 12:08:23 AM , Rating: 2
The handout as you put it is technically wrong. It is a tax deduction NOT a check from the treasury. The oil industry's write off is 6%. Huge you say! All other industrial companies have a 9% write off. Yes, just like GE and their zero tax year. The oil industry still pays tens of billions every year even with the write off. Come up for air.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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