Slovakian battery company InoBat Auto and US electric vehicle specialist Ideanomics are planning a three-stage battery development and production project in the US state of Indiana.
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The first stage envisages an R&D and production facility for battery modules and packs with an initial annual production capacity of 100 MWh. The second stage envisions a commercial-scale battery module and pack assembly plant with an initial annual production capacity of 2 to 3 GWh. The first two phases would be supplied by cells from InoBat’s European plants.
The option of building a battery cell production facility in Indiana with an initial annual capacity of 4 GWh is also being explored. The latter is to be done “in line with future offtake agreements”. In other words, if Ideanomics can better foresee how sales of its electric utility vehicles will develop in North America, InoBat will be in a better position to assess if and when a US cell production will be profitable.
The two companies chose Indiana because of its “high concentration of OEMs, suitable business conditions for industrial projects and government support”, according to the statement. The Indiana government has pledged “administrative, advisory, fiscal and site support” for the project. InoBat has not disclosed details on the financial scope of the support.
Instead, InoBat gives details on the battery technology: the company’s business model is to quickly develop customised battery solutions for customer vehicles. This is currently being done on the basis of InoBat’s first battery cell generation, an NCM622 pouch cell. Compared to a benchmark cell from Asia, it is said to be able to charge from five to 80 per cent 25 per cent faster, to have a 20 per cent longer service life and to offer 28 per cent better capacity maintenance at -20 degrees Celsius.
Ideanomics already invested in InoBat earlier this year. “This partnership demonstrates our continuing effort to make EV the natural mobility successor,” Ideanomics CEO Alf Poor said of the Indiana plans. “It has been our mission to expedite the innovations needed to accelerate EV adoption. Our partnership with InoBat will secure future battery supply and create a force multiplier for technologies across our operating companies. This is another reflection of our commitment to boost clean technology job opportunities in the US.”
Update 2 November 2022:
Slovakian company InoBat Auto and Ideanomics have secured the necessary subsidies from the US state of Indiana to advance their battery project there. The incentive package, the amount of which has not been disclosed, includes tax credits, rebates, cash grants and training grants that InoBat and Ideanomics will be eligible for once they have made their investment in Indiana and hired and trained local workers.
“We were thrilled to meet Inobat on our overseas business development trip to Slovakia earlier in the year and are excited to now welcome InoBat and Ideanomics to Indiana to grow and scale their dynamic business for the US market”, said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers. “With Indiana’s innovative economy and our push toward manufacturing the products necessary for the energy transition, the timing is perfect for Inobat and Ideanomics to open the doors in the Hoosier state.”
The first stage of the project, as mentioned above, envisions an R&D and manufacturing facility for battery modules and packs with an initial annual production capacity of 100 MWh in Indianapolis. Construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2023, and assembly in 2024.
InoBat was founded in 2019, and is jointly headquartered in both Slovakia and the UK. The young company has to date raised and committed 91 million euros from convertible loans, equity financing, EU and governmental funds. The company is currently in its Series C round to fuel its expansion plans.
Ideanomics retains the right to offtake battery modules and packs from the facility for use in its Solectrac and Energica electric vehicles. In 2021, Ideanomics began acquiring Via Motors. Once this is complete, Ideanomics will also make InoBat’s battery solutions available for use in VIA vehicles.
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