Posting in Design
Boston-Power once dreamed of building a battery factory in the United States. Now it plans to reduce its U.S. operations and expand in China.
Boston-Power once aspired to build a 455,000-square-foot lithium ion battery factory near its Westborough, Mass., headquarters. Now, two years after it failed to land a $100 million Energy Department grant, the company has announced plans to cut its U.S. operations by 35 percent and expand in China.
Boston-Power's move to China is hardly unique. A stream of companies have expanded or moved overseas because their execs and investors recognize what perhaps U.S. lawmakers have not: China is investing heavily to build a globally dominant cleantech industry.
In other words, it's where the money -- and market -- is. Boston-Power, for example, announced it raised $125 million in new funding from a combination of private equity investment led by GSR Ventures and government incentives from China.
The money will be used scale up manufacturing and shift the company's focus towards electric vehicles. Boston-Power plans to establish a research and development and electric vehicle battery engineering facility. The company also plans to build a manufacturing plant capable of producing 400 megawatt hours of lithium ion battery cells -- or 18 million units of the lithium-ion cells -- annually by the end of 2012.
Boston-Power has developed two kind of lithium-ion cells, one geared for EVs and utility applications, the other suited for notebooks and portable power devices. Both share a common design and can easily be arrange into blocks, modules, packs and systems to be used in a variety of products. The company already makes a long-lasting laptop battery in China.
Boston-Power's expansion plans mark a shift in the company's business model and it's clearly gunning for the electric vehicle market, no small feat considering the amount of competition in the space.
The company, which touts the high energy density and long life of its battery, has made some headway into the market. Saab unveiled an electric vehicle this summer that contained a Boston-Power battery system. And earlier this month, Boston-Power announced it was working with Protean Electric to supply battery systems for two new advanced BRABUS vehicles based on the Mercedes Benz E-Class.
Still, Boston-Power faces considerable headwinds in a market where it will go up against larger, well-established companies like LG Chem and Sony.
Photo: Flickr user peruisay, CC 2.0
Sep 20, 2011
-the company sought funding in 2009. they made a go of it despite the fact - for two more years in the US -the executives are all gone, no severance, no bonuses, under Chinese management now always sounds good to do the greedy executive thing - even when it isn't true -China will make more money using green technology to clean up their own air and water that they destroyed to beat us at manufacturing -thousands of years of wisdom trumps a few hundred years of fast growth and arrogance - they just waited for us to fall on our faces
Reason 1) Cheaper labor (more money for executive bonuses) Reason 2) Lax pollution regulations...they can dump any contaminants anywhere they want, and not have to worry about the government breathing down their backs Secondary reason 2) If they *DO* get in any kinda trouble, a "contribution" to a political member can make the trouble "go away" if you catch my drift!
The Chinese government has decided as part of its economic policy to invest its resources heavily in jump-starting its clean tech industry. Time will tell if this intervention in the market was or was not a good economic decision. The US government (through the joint outcome of decisions made by the President, the Senate, and the House) has decided to invest on a much smaller level. Time will tell whether this decision was or was not a good idea. To ignore these facts misses the point.
Translation: "We didn't get our crony capitalism payout like Solyndra, so we're taking our marbles and moving to China." Does this mean that their business plan was even worse that Solyndra's, or was it just that their lobbyists didn't consolidate enough campaign cash? This has nothing to do with China "...investing heavily to build a globally dominant cleantech industry." China is taking over all manufacturing, because America has become hostile to business. That we whine differently over losing "green" jobs than regular jobs is simply politics. There's little difference, really.
Historically, such government "investments" have worked out poorly. I'm still waiting for the payback from the cheap & solar power the US government invested in back in the '70s, along with my cheap "gasahol". Nope. The standard refrain is now going to be "Subsidize us, or we're heading to China." I don't take well to extortion. Meanwhile, what makes China so attractive to Boston-Power other than the cheap labor? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14968605 Their government is even more corrupt than ours. The crony capitalists will feel quite at home there.