Ener1 Inc. was the first applicant for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program, a $25 billion low-interest federal loans to encourage development of fuel-efficient vehicles and components, AP reports (via Forbes).
The loan is not related to the government bailout of the auto industry.
The company applied for a $480 million loan with an estimated annual interest rate of less than 4 percent. Ener1 says the funding will help it double the manufacturing capacity of its Indiana lithium-ion battery subsidiary, EnerDel.
If it gets the loans, EnerDel should be able to produce 600,000 hybrid electric vehicle packs annually at its existing plant over the next two years. The company will also be able to build a second larger plant with the capacity of producing battery packs for up to 1.2 million hybrid electric vehicles by 2015.
Ener1 estimates the batteries it manufactures could save the U.S. economy up to $600 million at the gas pump and reduce up to 1 billion tons carbon emissions per year.