Lithium-ion battery manufacturer EnerDel announced January 21 that it will invest $237 million in a new manufacturing plant near its Indianapolis headquarters in order to meet anticipated demand for advanced battery systems used in both automotive and stationary smart grid applications. Backed by a mix of private funds and public incentives, the new facilities will more than double EnerDel's U.S. production capacity and create 1,400 new jobs.
The announcement came during a special unveiling at the EnerDel facility of the new EnerDel powered C30 electric vehicle platform for Volvo Cars, the best selling platform within Volvo. The unveiling was to commemorate 18 months of collaboration between the two companies, with EnerDel and Volvo management outlining the C30's imminent path to commercialization to gathered media and investors. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels joined EnerDel and Volvo executives for the event.
State and local economic development incentives are valued at $69.9 million, which comprises a state incentive package of $21.3 million and Hancock County package valued at $48.6 million. EnerDel has also applied for an additional $9 million from Federal Government development programs.
"Demand for high-performance lithium-ion battery systems is expanding dramatically, for vehicles of all sizes as well as the utility grid, and we are going to be fully prepared to meet it with a product stamped 'Made in America'," said Charles Gassenheimer, Chairman and CEO of EnerDel parent company Ener1 Inc.
The new plant will give EnerDel the capacity to produce battery packs for approximately 600,000 hybrid electric vehicles, or 60,000 battery electric cars. It will be financed through a $118.5 million grant awarded under the federal stimulus package under a 50:50 cost-share program, of which EnerDel plans to spend $60 million in 2010. The project represents just the first stage of the company's expansion plans in the Indianapolis area.
"We're out to be the capital of the electric vehicle industry and EnerDel is at the center of those hopes," said Governor Daniels.
As demand for electric drivetrain technology grows, Indiana is emerging as the industry's central player. And a location affording easy access to both domestic and transplant car manufacturers in the U.S. is seen as a critical advantage for EnerDel.
"Indiana is fast becoming the Silicon Valley of the 21st-century auto industry," Gassenheimer said. "We're here because of the talent, the automotive industry experience and the remarkable network of electric drivetrain companies that call this state home. This immediately follows our electric vehicle partner THINK's announcement to establish their U.S. manufacturing facility here, in Indiana."
EnerDel will immediately begin to occupy more than 211,500 square feet of newly constructed space in the Axcess70 industrial park in Mt. Comfort, Ind., with a two-year option to purchase the entire facility which is comprised of 423,000 square feet. The company is currently in the process of hiring new engineers, production associates and other staff as build-out progresses. Axcess70 is a 153-acre industrial and distribution park developed by a joint venture between Browning Investments Inc. and Real Estate Capital Partners and consists of two speculative buildings located just north of the I-70/Mt. Comfort Interchange, which is currently being expanded.
EnerDel has commercial and strategic partnerships with industry leading companies including Volvo, THINK, Nissan and Mazda, and is supplying batteries for a prototype hybrid version of the Humvee being tested by the U.S. Army. EnerDel batteries have recently been chosen for smart grid projects in the U.S. and Japan.
The company also has an ongoing application for a long-term, low-interest loan under the federal Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which was created under the 2007 Energy and Security Independence Act 2007 to help U.S. automakers and their suppliers meet stronger fuel economy performance standards.
EnerDel, a subsidiary of Ener1 Inc., develops and manufactures compact, high performance lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. Led by an experienced team of engineers and energy system experts, the company is building proprietary innovations based on technology originally pioneered at the Argonne National Laboratory.
EnerDel produces its batteries at its state-of-the-art facilities in Indianapolis and is expecting to be the first company to mass-produce a cost-competitive lithium-ion battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition to the automobile market, applications for EnerDel lithium-ion battery technology include medical, military, aerospace, electric utility and other growing markets.