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On Sept.

13, 2010, employees and political leaders at the opening ceremony for a lithium ion battery plant near Detroit patched in a special speaker.

On the phone was President Barack Obama, who touted the federal Recovery Act grant of $249.1 million that helped build the A123 Systems plant. He told the crowd that the plant represented "the birth of an entire new industry in America -- an industry that's going to be central to the next generation of cars."

"You guys are making us proud," Obama added. "The work you're doing will help power the American economy for years to come."

Little more than two years later, A123 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The move added to a chain of dismal news among battery makers that hoped to supply a booming market for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

 


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