By Jeff St. John
Valence Technology (LVNC) on Thursday joined the ranks of battery makers seeking federal stimulus funding for a new factory in Texas.
The Austin, Texas-based maker of lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries said it hopes to secure $225 million over three years from the Department of Energy's Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative.
Valence hopes to raise the remaining $359 million for the project through state and local taxes and other incentives. The factory could build about 660,000 battery packs per year with a storage capacity of more than a million kilowatt hours, and could be open as early as mid-2012, the company said.
Get in line. There's already a long line of companies hoping to get a piece of the $2 billion in the program for battery manufacturing grants. Those include Planar Energy Devices, General Electric (GE), and earlier this week, Chrysler, which said it would seek $448 million from the program and another DOE stimulus program (see GE Aims at Energy Storage for Trains, Grid).
Valence is also seeking up to $608 million from another DOE stimulus program, the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program. That program has $25 billion available, and companies seeking funding from it include lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems, which is seeking up to $1.8 billion, and a consortium of chemical and battery manufacturers seeking up to $1 billion for a commonly shared battery cell factory (see A123 Lands $100M in Tax Credits and Will The U.S. Move From Arab Oil Dependence to Asian Battery Dependence?)
Valence has so far taken a slightly different tack than those others, concentrating on making batteries for electric buses and commercial vehicles at first and then shifting into the car market (see Valence: Electric Buses and Trucks First, Cars Later). Founded in 1989, it has spent most of its time making batteries for computers.