It’s Not Too Late for Saab and A123 Systems to Survive

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Swedish automak­er Saab Auto­mo­bile was sur­pris­ing­ly brought back from the dead by a pur­chas­ing group made up of Hong Kong-based renew­able-ener­gy pow­er-plant builder Nation­al Mod­ern Ener­gy Hold­ings Ltd., which owns 51%, and Japan­ese invest­ment firm Sun Invest­ment. The first vehi­cle under the plan will be based on Saab’s 9–3 car and will go on sale ear­ly in 2014, with Chi­na as the main mar­ket…     Lithi­um-ion bat­tery mak­er A123 Sys­tems Inc. has so far sur­vived upheaval con­nect­ed to its Fisker Kar­ma bat­tery recall and an explo­sion at Gen­er­al Motors’ War­ren Tech Cen­ter in March. The com­pa­ny plans to hire up to 400 peo­ple over the next sev­er­al months in response to increased busi­ness in its com­mer­cial trans­porta­tion and grid oper­a­tions. The new jobs will be at A123’s two Michi­gan fac­to­ries in Livo­nia and Romu­lus. The com­pa­ny plans to hire about 100 work­ers a month. Anoth­er bench­mark for the com­pa­ny was its report­ed break­through of a revised ver­sion of its phos­phate-based lithi­um ion bat­tery chem­istry, which it calls Nanophos­phate EXT. The new bat­tery is said to tol­er­ate much more extreme tem­per­a­ture ranges, elim­i­nat­ing cost­ly cli­mate con­trols in the bat­tery pack.

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