"Our battery systems were chosen on the basis of performance and flexibility and the fact that they can easily be configured to fit the challenging design requirements in the accessible, low-floor bus design that is becoming standard around the world," said Naoki Ota, Chief Operating Officer for EnerDel. "We anticipate that medium and heavy-duty fleets are going to be one of the earliest and most important markets for this technology."
The project was initiated last April by Hokuriku Electric Power Company, which is headquartered in Toyama, in partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It is the third such announcement from the "Green Crossover Town," an EnerDel-ITOCHU collaboration, previewed at EnerDel’s technical seminar last week in Indiana. The "Green Crossover Town" comprises a systematic roll-out of integrated systems that provide the critical link between renewable energy, high-speed charging for electric cars and the local utility grid. The two previous announcements combine a residential smart grid energy storage project at an ITOCHU-owned building in Tokyo and a smart grid integration project involving Mazda and a chain of ITOCHU-owned convenience stores in Japan.
EnerDel’s heavy duty battery systems are also being used in 16 fuel cell buses made by coach builder Van Hool and UTC Power, a unit of United Technologies Corporation. Twelve of them will go to California’s Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), while four others will be used by various transit agencies as part of the U.S. Federal Transit Administration’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program.
ITOCHU is EnerDel’s official sales and marketing partner in Japan, and has been a significant investor in parent company Ener1, Inc. (Nasdaq: HEV) since 2003. In July, EnerDel and ITOCHU joined with longtime EnerDel customer THINK to convert electric drive delivery trucks for Japan’s postal service. ITOCHU is a $90 billion conglomerate, has deep ties to the automotive, utility and renewable energy industries, and is the largest global reseller of manufacturing equipment for lithium-ion battery production.
In addition to THINK and Mazda, EnerDel has active relationships underway with automakers Volvo and Nissan. Their battery packs are also being tested by the U.S. Department of Defense in a prototype hybrid Humvee.
Ener1 develops and manufactures compact, high performance lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. The publicly traded company (Nasdaq: HEV) is led by an experienced team of engineers and energy system experts at its EnerDel subsidiary located in Indiana. In addition to the automobile market, applications for Ener1 lithium-ion battery technology include the military, grid storage and other growing markets. Ener1 also develops commercial fuel cell products through its EnerFuel subsidiary and nanotechnology- based materials and manufacturing processes for batteries and other applications through its NanoEner subsidiary.