Once almost completely unknown, Electrovaya (TSX:EFL) is a Canadian company that is beginning to compete on the world stage. And lately, they are getting a little help from Barack Obama. In mid-2009, shares of the Mississauga based maker of lithium-ion batteries, were going for barely $.20 cents. So what’s behind the recent run-up in Electrovaya shares, a move that has seen the company’s market capitalization rise to near a quarter-billion dollars?
The long answer is a more than a decade’s worth of pioneering work and 150 patents on its lithium ion battery technology. The short answer is Chrysler. On March 24, Electrovaya announced that it had been selected by Chrysler to supply the battery for a hybrid version of the Dodge Ram pickup. The Company also appointed former Chrysler CEO (and Windsor Ontario native) Tom Lasorda to help guide them through the process.
Recently, Electrovaya won a $4.49 million grant through the Energy Department to develop advanced technologies for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEVs, for Chrysler. This has at least one American happy for Canadian developed technology.
“I’m happy Obama spent the money,” said George Olivares, who is technical coordinator for an Electrovaya branch in Saratoga, New York. “It has given me a job. It has stopped me from moving.”
Olivares says the Malta, NY branch employs just two people now, but plans to expand to a dozen in the near future. Electrovaya was the largest largest of the seven sub-recipients of an overall grant to Chrysler, which was $38.2 million in total.