The parent of EnerDel, an Indianapolis-based producer of automotive lithium-ion batteries, announced Monday morning that
it has received about $20 million in investment capital from a Japanese commercial trading company.
New York-based Ener1 Inc. said the cash infusion is from Itochu Corp., which purchased 3.2 million shares from the publicly traded company at a price of $6.18 per share.
Through its EnerDel subsidiary, Ener1 produces battery systems for the automotive and electric utility markets. In August, the company received from the U.S. Department of Energy a $118 million matching grant, which will be used to help double its production capabilities.
Ener1’s existing partnership with Itochu already includes the first project in the world linking electric-grid storage, electric vehicles, rapid recharging infrastructure and solar power, in conjunction with Mazda Corp. and the Think Global electric vehicle company in Norway.
“Itochu has been an invaluable strategic partner for Ener1, supplying capital at important phases in the company’s growth and granting vital access to materials and equipment,” Ener1 CEO Charles Gassenheimer said in a prepared statement.
In addition, EnerDel has active relationships under way with automakers Nissan and Volvo, as well as California-based Fisker, an upstart electric automaker.
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.