Battery maker EnerDel lays off 65 workers

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Lacking production contracts, struggling battery maker EnerDel Inc. has once again downsized its Indianapolis-area work force.

About 65 people, from production workers to management, were let go on July 26, CEO David Roberts confirmed. He said the company is referring to the layoff as a “furlough” that is indefinite.

“We’re very confident our business is going to improve and we’re going to be able to call back some of these people,” Roberts said.

Roberts declined to say how many employees remain at EnerDel, which got its start as a subsidiary of New York-based Ener1 Inc.

Other sources indicate the number is more than 100, split between the former headquarters on Hague Road and its new headquarters at Mount Comfort in Hancock County.

As part of a tax-abatement compliance report to the city of Indianapolis, EnerDel said this spring that 47 people worked at its Hague Road facility. An engineer who was part of the furlough said the layoff affected about half the people who worked in Mount Comfort, where the company has leased factory space since 2010.

EnerDel at one time planned to create 1,400 jobs in Marion and Hancock counties. The company received about $55 million in renewable energy economic stimulus grants from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, and one of its major investors, Russian businessman Boris Zingarevich, took it private in 2012.

It’s unclear whether Zingarevich is still involved. Roberts would not comment on whether EnerDel still belongs to Zingarevich’s Europe-based Z1 Investment Group. He said that like all alternative-energy firms, EnerDel is looking for an investor to “bridge the gap” between demonstration-level projects and full production.

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