A123 Systems' battery plant in Michigan  (Source:
For now, Fisker is using the batteries it currently has to replace those in Karmas with owners

Fisker Automotive is halting production of its Karma plug-in while bankrupt battery maker A123 Systems awaits a sale.

A123 Systems is the provider of lithium ion batteries for Fisker's Karma plug-in. However, after filing for bankruptcy last month, Fisker has had to wait around for someone to buy A123's Michigan-based plant so it can continue Karma assembly.

"Because we have no batteries, there's no production right now," said Tony Posawatz, Fisker CEO. "Inventory is starting to get a little low. We'd like to restart production as quickly as possible. We should know the outcome of the auction by the middle of December."

For now, Fisker is using the batteries it currently has to replace those in Karmas with owners. 

A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy in October 2012. Now, its Michigan plant is waiting to be auctioned off to bidders including Johnson Controls and China's Wanxiang Group Co. Once a buyer purchases the plant, lithium ion batteries will be produced once again. 

Why doesn't Fisker just go with another battery maker? According to Posawatz, that would mean testing and evaluating alternative cells, which could take as long as a year. Fisker said it'd be fine with either Johnson Controls or Wanxiang Group Co. taking over A123 Systems. 

It's been a tough year for Fisker's Karma. Aside from delivery delays, the plug-in had battery and cooling recalls as well as an unfavorable review from Consumer Reports. In addition, Fisker lost 320 Karmas to Hurricane Sandy.

Fisker is also trying to move forward with its Atlantic, but may have to build outside of the U.S. due to the loan freeze from the Department of Energy. In May 2011, DOE froze Fisker's loans because delivery of the Karma plug-in was delayed and ended up falling behind schedule. DOE said Fisker did not meet the milestones previously promised, and since then, Fisker has not been able to access the DOE loans.

California-based Fisker Automotive received a total of $529 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for clean vehicles in April 2010. The loans were part of a program to progress development of high-tech vehicles, where Fisker received $169 million for its $102,000 Karma plug-in and $359 million for the production of its Atlantic midsize sedan.

Source: BusinessWeek

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