Carol D. Leonnig
January 27, 2012
Ener1, an electric car battery company that the Obama administration awarded a $118 million stimulus grant to expand its operations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday after being unable to repay pressing debts.
The news comes one year after Vice President Biden visited the company’s new battery plant in Indiana to highlight its progress with federal funds.
Ener1 is the third company to seek bankruptcy protection among those the Energy Department backed as part of the president’s signature program to invest in clean energy. Solyndra, a California solar-panel maker, and Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy-storage firm, entered bankruptcy court proceedings in the fall, after having received taxpayer-guaranteed loans of $535 million and $43 million, respectively.
One of Ener1’s key struggles has been its reliance on one financially troubled customer, Think. The Norwegian carmaker filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2010.