UPDATE: Indy area to snag 277 EnerDel jobs

EnerDel Inc.’s $100 million expansion, one of the biggest in the state this year, earmarks 277 of the 850 new positions for the Indianapolis area.

The lithium-ion battery company announced this morning that it will add 217 jobs to the 100 positions at its headquarters at 8740 Hague Road on the far northeast side of Indianapolis. The new Indianapolis jobs will involve research and cell production.

Sixty more jobs will be located at 15425 Herriman Boulevard in Noblesville, where a renovation is expected to begin soon. The Noblesville location, which has 31,000 square feet, will assemble battery packs.

The rest of the jobs, 478, will be based at a battery manufacturing plant to be located in Indiana. A site has not been secured, EnerDel CEO Ulrik Grape said.

EnerDel will need several hundred thousand square feet of existing space, but would prefer to build the plant, Grape said.

The company also is lining up suppliers, some of which are in Indiana, Grape added.

EnerDel expects the 850 new positions to pay an average of $19.57 an hour – more than the $18.04 state average in 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available. The existing jobs at EnerDel headquarters pay an average of $34 an hour.

All of the new positions are expected to be created by 2012.

The state offered $7.1 million in tax credits and $58,000 in training grants to be allocated as the expansion proceeds.

The expansion was sparked by a production contract EnerDel landed with Think Global, a Norway company that has developed but not yet started assembling an electric car called Th!ink City.

The batteries are much bigger than versions used in hybrid cars, which have both batteries and engines. The Th!ink batteries weigh about 600 pounds and are the size of huge suitcase. They will power the car for about 100 miles per charge.

The two-year contract is for $70 million, although Ener1 said the deal has potential to evolve into a $200 million deal.

Founded in 2004, EnerDel develops and manufactures the batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The company is owned by Ener1 Inc., which recently moved its headquarters to New York City from Florida. Ener1 is owned by shareholders including the private investment firm Ener1 Group Inc. and ITOCHU Corp., a Japanese company that makes equipment for manufacturing lithium ion batteries.

Last week, Ener1 bought out a 19.5-percent stake held by Delphi Automotive, a Troy, Mich., auto parts maker that is seeking to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Ener1 stock rose 17 cents this morning to trade at $7.34 a share.

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