Battery making isn’t just for automobiles

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There’s a lot of excitement across the country about expanding factory capacity to make batteries for the explosion of electric-vehicle models invading the auto market, but folks in Indiana could be forgiven if they didn’t look at the battery maker. More excited about for lawn mowers, power tools and equipment to reduce diesel fumes in mining.

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That’s because NPower is ramping up production of lithium-ion batteries at a renovated plant in Indianapolis for markets that want to deploy more battery capacity in the United States than any other American owned-and-operated, privately held company. controls. And with more than 60 employees already, nPower plans to double its workforce within about six months and employ approximately 350 people by the end of 2024 – all making batteries for fast-growing categories of electrification. The ones that aren’t making headlines Received by EVS. It is hoped that federal aid may help the company grow further.

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“If everyone else is running left, I’m going to run right — I’m a contrarian by nature,” said Annette Finsterbush, CEO of NPower, founder of Applied Ventures, the venture arm of Applied Materials. Prior to joining as head of NPower five years ago, he held global leadership roles with the company.

It’s about “that’s where it pivots” away from the company’s original goal to tap into the EV market. If all is going well because EVs are going to eat up the lithium-ion battery market for the next 10 years, we need the underdog. We are small, unknown and under-funded, and developing our technology in secret and verifying that it works – and it works now, not in 2030 or 2035.

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Reaching industries such as mining, construction, aviation, recreational vehicles and the military that are increasingly meeting their power needs, nPower finds a strong and growing niche under the umbrella of global giants such as Panasonic, LG and SK Is. innovation that controls the vast majority of the worldwide market for the new generation of batteries.

“We’ve taken this approach over the last 15 to 17 months, and it’s been validated. We’re working with some of the larger, 100-year-old companies that will grow glacially. But their customers see them as “electrified.” are pushing. For example, one of EnPower’s first commercial markets is for companies that want to use its batteries to provide the mining industry with clean-running equipment that cleans up fumes from diesel generators in mines.

“If you can do that using electric power, you have a lot more money for equipment to make mining more efficient,” Finsterbusch said.

Lawn- and garden-equipment makers are also increasingly turning to battery power to replace gasoline-powered tools that have come under attack for greenhouse-gas emissions, noise nuisance and other reasons. Finsterbusch said newer robotically controlled lawn mowers also rely on robust battery cells.

Defence-equipment manufacturers are another target market, he said. And the “lottery ticket” for nPower could be aviation, where electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (EVTOL) are coming to the fore.

NPower recently struck a deal with its first customer, she said, a Fortune 500 company that “is going to fund some of the back end for us, necessary to manufacture the type of batteries they want us to make.” And we’re going to scale-up with them by this time next year. It was a huge win and we think there’s more to it.”

NPower was based in Phoenix, but Fensterbush moved the company when a 92,000-square-foot battery-making facility in Indianapolis was turned over from a failed venture in the mid-2000s and the equipment passed testing.

“We had a huge team that ran each piece of equipment for six weeks or so to make sure everything worked,” Fensterbush said. “Today, it’s in really excellent condition, and we’ve spent six to eight months preparing to make the batteries we made.” NPower invested more than $20 million in upgrading the facility, she said, but “saved $80 million” by not building the plant from scratch. “The fact that this plant is here puts us closer to the customer that we determined we were going to serve, and gives us a real connection with these Midwestern customers.”

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