EnerDel Grows Lithium-ion Capability

The man on the left is Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana.

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The man on the left is Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana. The man on the right is Charles Gassenheimer, chairman and CEO of Ener1. They are standing in a manufacturing facility of EnerDel, where lithium-ion batteries are produced. In fact, the lithium-ion battery production at the EnerDel plant in Indianapolis, is said to be the only one of its type in the U.S., as there the production starts with mixing the powder all the way through to creating the cells (one of which Gassenheimer is holding—and as you may have concluded by the similarity in names, Ener1 owns EnerDel). In fact, not only are they manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for customers including Volvo for its Volvo Electric C30 and THINK (in which Ener1 is injecting $47-million of equity funding), which is establishing an electric car manufacturing plant in Elkhart, Indiana, but they are doing research on the application appropriate chemistries for the batteries (as EnerDel’s Dr. Taison Tan, manager of R&D, points out, “There’s no one perfect lithium-ion chemistry,” and he goes on to say that presently, for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids they’re using a hard carbon and mixed oxide chemistry and for non-plug-in hybrids it is hard carbon and lithium-manganese oxide; the future seems to be lithium titanate oxide and lithium manganese).

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The reason Gov. Daniels is with Gassenheimer is because on January 21, EnerDel announced that they’re opening a third facility in central Indiana, a $237-million investment for the production of advanced battery systems for both automotive and stationary, smart grid applications (e.g., if you generate electricity with solar or wind, it could be useful to use batteries to store it).

The plant will double EnerDel’s lithium-ion battery capability such that when the new plant in Hancock County is up and running, EnerDel will be capable of supplying the battery needs of 600,000 hybrid electric vehicles or 60,000 fully electric vehicles.