Troy’s Energy Power Systems Eyes Oakland for Manufacturing Plant

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Energy Power Systems is looking to begin production of its low-cost battery for hybrid and electric vehicles by the end of 2015, says Subhash Dhar, the chairman and CEO.

“We are in the process of (designing) our manufacturing and engineering plant,” says Dhar, noting that the company is looking at options in Michigan, specifically Oakland County. The company’s headquarters and related facilities are located in Troy.

As Energy Power Systems plans for its first manufacturing plant, expected to be up to 150,000 square feet with a total production capacity of 500-megawatt hours, the company is expanding its relationships with vendors — with an intention of doing everything within Michigan. The company had eyed moving to the site of Ford’s former Wixom plant, but a deal was never consummated.

“Thirty years ago, Detroit was not the place where you had a lot of scientific talent related to batteries,” Dhar says. (Today), Michigan has one of the largest pools of battery engineers, battery chemists, and battery technologists. Also, this is the place where most of the next generation of automobile powertrains are developed, so it is the right place for us.”

What Energy Power Systems will offer isn’t an entirely new product, rather a major upgrade of the lead-acid battery, originally developed in 1859.

“This is an old chemistry, but a new design,” Dhar says. “We have enhanced the power by a factor of four, increased the life by a factor of five or so, and improved the overall regenerative charging capability by a factor of four or five. And all of this has been done without increasing the fundamentally low cost structure of the battery’s chemistry.”

According to Dhar, the company’s battery, which lasts as long as the life of a vehicle, costs about one-third of the price of lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries. “It saves the consumers, the customers, money — not just the companies,” he says.

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