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EnerDel lands $118 million stimulus grant

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EnerDel, an Indianapolis-based producer of automotive lithium-ion batteries, will receive $118.5 million in a matching grant from the federal government.

President Obama is in Elkhart today to announce $2.4 billion in taxpayer-funded grants to create electric cars and, possibly, thousands of jobs.

Indiana was a big winner, with seven parties receiving stimulus funds. Only Michigan had more recipients.

Besides EnerDel, grants will go to Kokomo-based Delphi Automotive Systems LLC ($89.3 million), Indianapolis-based Allison Transmission ($62.8 million), Anderson-based Remy Inc. ($60.2 million) and Purdue University ($6.1 million).

Grants going to companies in other states could also help Indiana employers. Michigan-based Magna E-Car Systems of America Inc., which has a manufacturing plant in Muncie, got $40 million, and Illinois-based Navistar Inc., which has a plant in Elkhart County, received $39.2 million.

Those receiving awards need to match the amount of the federal grant. EnerDel, for instance, will have to raise $118.5 million.

"It's really exciting that the administration is focusing on this today; it's really exciting for us," an EnerDel spokeswoman said as the awards were being revealed late this morning.

EnerDel also is in the running for as much as $480 million in financing under a U.S. Department of Energy program aimed at fostering advanced vehicle manufacturing. The growth plan laid out in the application calls for boosting employment from 150 now to 3,000 within five years.

EnerDel is among a growing number of companies pinning their hopes on the production of automotive lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter and more powerful than the nickel-metalhydride batteries used in the Toyota Prius and other hybrids now on the market.

Of the federal grants announced today, $1.5 billion will go to the production of batteries and their components; $500 million will go for other components needed for the cars, like electric motors; and $400 million will go toward plug-in hybrid cars, training for technicians and related costs.

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