The grant to Johnson Controls was meant to help retrofit one plant and build another. But the company has dramatically scaled back, after executives concluded demand for electric cars was far lower than the administration forecast. The factory outfitted with stimulus funds is nearly idle, and plans to build a second plant have been postponed.
Johnson Controls Vice President Alex Molinaroli stressed that the company has tapped just half of the funds it was awarded. He said the program helped build the foundation for a U.S. electric battery industry that could compete internationally when demand picks up.
“We’ll have to wait a long time to see if this was a good investment or not,” Molinaroli told the Post in 2011.
The company’s decision to pull back, however, will not affect GIM’s portfolio. When the investment firm doubled its holdings, shares were as low as $9; GIM sold them from April to December 2009, with prices running from $21 to $26.