Electric Car Battery Maker Welcomes VP Biden

Joe Biden Speaks At Ener1 Inc.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke in central Indiana on Wednesday afternoon at a company that makes batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Biden visited Ener1 Inc., a manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion battery systems, where he spoke with employees about investing in innovation, 6News' Norman Cox reported.


The company received $118 million in stimulus money to expand production and plans to show Biden how the money is being spent.

"A year and a half ago, this administration made a judgment which was viewed as controversial," said Biden. "We decided that, number one, we weren't going to let the automobile industry just collapse. We weren't gonna walk away and let it crumble."

The Obama administration wants to push electric cars by making the current tax credit for buying one into an immediate rebate, and by selecting communities where electric vehicle usage will be nurtured with federal help.

Ener1's CEO, Charles Gassenheimer, said he sees no reason why Indianapolis can't be one of those.

"We need to start working on that, because it's going to be a highly competitive process, so we're gonna get together with other folks here in the Indiana community as part of the energy systems network here and do our best to try and position Indianapolis to be one of those communities," Gassenheimer said.

"It's time to get back up. It's time to apply all that ingenuity and innovation, training that has led us to the place we are today," Biden told the crowd. "I want to make it clear: We start, in the race of the 21st century, in an incredibly strong position relative to the rest of the world."

Ener1 has about 300 total workers at its Indianapolis headquarters and at Noblesville and Mount Comfort factories. Its customers include Think Global, which plans an electric car factory in Elkhart.

Biden said he wants America to be the first nation with 100 million advanced technology vehicles on the road.

Wednesday's visit marks the vice president's second to Indiana in the last two months. He and President Barack Obama stopped in the Kokomo area for a talk with Chrysler workers in December.