Strike 3 for the DOE: Electric car battery maker files bankruptcy

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Indiana-based electric car battery manufacturer Ener1 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. The battery maker received over a quarter of the federal stimulus money granted to projects in the state of Indiana under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act fo 2009, a state which was the second highest recipient of federal stimulus money.

Ener1 CEO Alex Sorokin said that in addition to heavy competition from Asian markets, the “volatility in the debt and equity markets” further limited the company’s borrowing ability.

The loss of Ener1 customer Norwegian automaker Think Global — which declared bankruptcy in June 2011 — also “exacerbated” the problem, Sorokin said in a statement on Thursday.

Six companies and Purdue University received over $400 million in funds specifically for the development of electric car technology. Ener1 — which was granted $118 million for the production lithium-ion cells and packs for hybrid and electric vehicles — received over a quarter of those funds.

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