U.S.-backed battery company's sale to Russian tycoon sparks anxiety
Department of Energy invested millions to develop cutting-edge technology to power electric vehicles, but that know-how is now in foreign hands
By Julie Wernau
April 8, 2012
Batteries made in America for America and backed by America. That's how politicians hailed Ener1.
The company tapped the country's top scientists at Argonne National Lab in Illinois, and U.S. taxpayers pledged up to $118 million in federal stimulus funds and $80 million in state and local incentives to help Ener1 produce cutting-edge battery technology for electric cars and the U.S. military.
"This is about the future. And the question is which nation is going to seize the future. Some nation is going to grab it by the throat. One of the nations of the world is going to lead the world in green energy and technology," Vice President Joe Biden said in January 2011 in a speech praising federal support for Ener1 at its facility in Indiana.That nation, it turns out, is Russia.
A little more than a year after Biden's visit to Ener1's Indiana manufacturing plant, the company's technology is owned outright by Boris Zingarevich, a Russian businessman with ties to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a fact that concerns some technology experts in the U.S.
Zingarevich acquired Ener1 out of bankruptcy March 30 with an agreement to infuse $81 million in financing, giving him a sophisticated line of batteries that can power electric cars, store electricity for power grids and supply portable power for soldiers. His plans for Ener1 aren't known. A company spokesman declined to comment, saying Ener1 is privately held. Zingarevich couldn't be reached for comment.
Anyone see a pattern here with this admin and their Green bullshit?