Ener1 is an energy company with some products powering alternative fuel cars. Specifically, some EnerDel (Ener1's lithium-ion battery company) batteries are in the Th!nk City electric cars that we've heard so much about these last two days. During a conference call yesterday afternoon, Ener1 executives, including CEO Charles Gassenheimer talked about the company's 2008 finances, plans for the future and when we'll see more Ener1 products on the road. The call was billed as a way "to discuss the fourth quarter and year-end results and give guidance on the company's financial position and discuss important company announcements." Important announcements? That sounded interesting.
One thing we learned is that Ener1 is in vehicle testing programs with four different vehicle programs, including Th!nk, an international tier-one OEM, and two different car programs from the same well known European OEM. Ener1 won't yet tell us the names of these OEMs, but Gassenheimer did say that he is excited about a recent EV conversion program that his company is in the process of validating with a national postal service. At this time, Ener1 has not made any comment on which postal service they are working with. Also, Ener1 has applied for "$480 million in 10 year financing to expand the first large scale lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in the United States for automotive and stationary power." Ener1 expects a decision by June. Luckily for Ener1, the technology it has developed for the Th!nk City EV is transferable to heavy-duty applications,
More after the jump.
There was also some discussion on Th!nk's announcement about its North American expansion. Gassenheimer said that Th!nk has made "very good progress" on cutting costs. Originally, Th!nk said it would need $80 million to survive. But, thanks to a lot of hard work and cost cutting, Th!nk now needs "just" $42 million, he said. Gassenheimer added that Th!nk's $70 million supply agreement (including a $34 million purchase order) from Ener1 has not been affected in any way.
"Th!nk had a very complicated capital structure," he said. "One of the things we did was buy out Rockport and Klein Perkins." This allowed Th!nk NA to apply for DOE loans for the American plant. Gassenheimer said Ener1 is excited to possibly have Th!nk here in the U.S., "especially here in Michigan or Indiana." In Norway, Gassenheimer said, Th!nk expects to be back in volume production in a few months.
You can see the slides for the conference call presentation in the gallery below. There is a transcript of the phone call here.