Hancock County to consider battery plant proposal

Hancock County officials will consider a request by lithium battery maker EnerDel to set up operations in a business park
near Indianapolis.

The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the request Jan. 28.

The subsidiary
of New York-based Ener1 had asked officials for an exemption that would allow heavier manufacturing than allowed at the Mount
Comfort business park.

Hancock Economic Development Council Director Dennis Maloy says the company has scaled back
plans since announcing in 2008 that it would invest $184 million and hire 800 people but has not specified its new plans.
He says EnerDel still is considering other sites.

Some of the jobs were to be added at the company’s headquarters
on the northeast side of Indianapolis, some at a Noblesville production facility and the rest at a then-undisclosed manufacturing
site—presumably in Hancock County.

Maloy says a smaller commitment by the company might reduce the size of
a $28 million incentive package proposed by local officials.

Ener1 also owns a stake in a
Norwegian electric vehicle manufacturer considering Indiana for its first U.S. plant. Last month,
the Elkhart County Council gave preliminary approval to a 10-year property tax break intended to lure
Think North America to the Middlebury area. The company also is considering sites in Oregon and Michigan
for the plant, which is expected to produce 2,500 autos per year initially and employ 415 people by 2013.

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