A123, a battery maker that received $132 million in stimulus grants intended to promote electric vehicles, filed for bankruptcy yesterday, the New York Times reports, in a case that some pundits are already comparing to the Solyndra scandal. The bankruptcy is surprising, because the company had announced a deal to sell itself to a Chinese auto parts manufacturer. But that deal had fallen through, the company revealed yesterday; instead, it will sell its automotive operations to fellow American battery producer Johnson Controls, which has also gotten federal help.
The Chinese company, Wanxiang, however, says that it's still interested in buying, reports Bloomberg, saying it's not interested in the technology Johnson is getting. The Romney campaign is already trying to capitalize on the collapse. "A123's bankruptcy is yet another failure for the president's disastrous strategy of gambling away billions of taxpayer dollars," a campaign spokesperson said. But this might not be all bad; Brian Dumaine at Fortune thinks that if Johnson Controls does wind up with A123's technology, it "would be a godsend for America's fledgling battery industry." (Read more A123 stories.)