Yardney Technical Of Stonington Enters Deal To Make Batteries For Electric Cars

Yardney Technical Products Inc. of Stonington said Monday that it has entered a joint venture with California-based Coda Automotive to produce lithium-ion batteries for Coda's upcoming all-electric car.

The joint venture, Coda Battery Systems LLC, has applied for federal stimulus money through the U.S. Department of Energy to open a manufacturing plant in Enfield that would employ 600.

Vincent Yevoli Jr., Yardney's president, said the proposal was submitted last month, and a response is expected in July.

"There are seven to eight awards issued," Yevoli said. "We're hoping we're one of the eight."

Yevoli declined to specify how much money they've requested. He did say, however, that it would be enough to "outfit" the proposed Enfield plant, the site of which was chosen in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

"The stimulus package includes $2 billion for electric vehicle and battery manufacture — $1.2 billion was set aside to establish an industrial base for the lithium-ion battery," Yevoli said.

Yardney is privately owned and has been researching batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles for years, Yevoli said.

Coda Automotive, which launched last week, is a spinoff of Miles Electric Vehicles Inc., which sells low-speed, electric fleet vehicles. Coda Automotive, based in Santa Monica, Calif., expects to introduce a four-door, all-electric highway sedan in California in late 2010.

"We've been working on this vehicle, the Coda Sedan, for several years," company spokeswoman Kara Saltness said.

The car's battery system will be produced initially by Tianjin Lishen Battery Co. in China. However, it's expected Coda Battery Systems will begin supplying the battery system as soon as the Enfield plant opens.

"The goal is to bring manufacturing to the states," Saltness said.

Yardney has provided batteries to the U.S. military since 1944 and develops and manufactures batteries for military aircraft, satellites, submarines and Mars exploration rovers.

Last year, Yardney landed a $9 million contract from Lockheed Martin to develop a lithium-ion battery for NASA's new manned spacecraft, the Orion crew exploration vehicle.