Ford Transit Connect EV Battery Maker Azure Dynamics Files for Bankruptcy
March 28, 2012 11:19 AM
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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
, which received nearly $43 million from the government in August 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in November 2011.
The Detroit News
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RE: The Green Bubble
3/28/2012 1:06:22 PM
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
3/28/2012 1:44:16 PM
The oil industry is getting huge handouts. Most companies pay little or nothing in income tax and some even get refunds, as in the Exxon case. Oil company taxation even allows for depletion, a credit for the use of the oil they pump. Nobody else gets anything close to that.
Every company making anything has infrastructure and there are depreciation allowances for wear and tear. Risk? What are you going to buy to fill your tank, huh? Plant burn down? Collect insurance and write off the rest.
Now about alternative energy: I am an inventor. I've gone through 5 prototypes until I came up with what I hope is a successful design. I won't know until my potential customers want it and their customers like it. I actually produced tooling for the last design, made 40 of them and abandoned the tooling as overpriced and impractical. New technology is like that. Holding the Volt or Solyndra to the fire is foolish. We need to keep searching and working to succeed.
RE: The Green Bubble
3/28/2012 3:59:12 PM
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
3/29/2012 12:18:59 AM
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.
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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