Ener1, Inc. and Wanxiang Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd., a division of the Chinese conglomerate Wanxiang Group Corporation, signed a joint venture to make lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs for vehicles in China.
The new company will harness cutting-edge American technology and advanced Chinese manufacturing capability to produce battery systems for Wanxiang’s several existing light- and heavy-duty automotive and power grid customers for delivery this year.
The new venture – Zhejiang Wanxiang Ener1 Power System Co., Ltd – will use Wanxiang Electric Vehicle’s existing 553,000-square-foot facility in Hangzhou. The joint enterprise is expected to achieve annual cell manufacturing capacity of 300 million Ampere hours (approximately 40,000 electric vehicle battery packs) annually by 2014.
Wanxiang Electric Vehicle will have a 60-percent equity stake in the joint venture. The company will contribute property, plant, equipment, and customer relationships, including State Grid, SAIC Motor, Dongfeng Motor, Guangzhou Auto and Yutong.
As part of its 40-percent stake, Ener1 will provide intellectual property, engineering, manufacturing and technical expertise. The joint venture will help further expand Ener1’s global footprint, and increase the company’s head count through the addition of R&D and engineering staff in the U.S.
The signing takes place against the background of a state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao and expanding U.S.-China bilateral initiatives to spur cooperation in transportation electrification and grid energy storage, a hallmark of the Obama administration’s policy toward China. The Chinese government, anticipating the environmental and oil demand impact of potentially hundreds of millions of new vehicle purchases by a burgeoning middle class, has set an annual production goal of 500,000 hybrid or all-electric cars and buses by 2012.