Ener1 equips Purdue students with battery technology, expertise

May 4, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Energy technology company Ener1 is providing lithium-ion battery technology and expertise to Purdue University's College of Technology to help students understand the intricacies of building electric vehicles.

Ener1 provided 13 student teams with lithium-ion battery solutions for electric-powered karts that will participate in the first Collegiate evGrandPrix Saturday (May 7) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More importantly, the technology and technical expertise provided by Ener1 will support broader teaching and research efforts throughout the year.

"The benefits to our students of working with these state-of-the-art battery solutions are incalculable," said Eric Dietz, an associate professor of computer and information technology. "They'll help the students build true electric vehicles and work on power grid storage issues. Beyond that, the research possibilities are limitless."

"Ener1 is committed to working with universities like Purdue to help educate students in using new technologies and techniques to design and build electric vehicles," said Tom Goesch, president of Ener1's transportation segment. "We're pleased that we are able to contribute our lithium-ion battery solutions and engineering expertise to help students prepare for careers in clean technology."

Ener1 engineers have been on campus working with the students as they adapted evGrandPrix karts to run on the lithium-ion batteries. All of the karts previously were powered by hobbyist batteries that needed to be replaced during the grand prix.

"What continues to impress me in working with these students is the technical knowledge and passion they bring to building their karts for the Collegiate evGrandPrix," said Ben Wrightsman, Ener1 current product engineering team lead for North America. "We've spent many late nights working with students to craft and fine-tune these vehicles. No matter which team wins, these students should all be commended for their hard work and dedication."

Dietz emphasizes that the batteries are production quality, which will allow the students to build more sophisticated machines.  "They'll be working with the same batteries that go into cars being driven on streets and highways."

The Collegiate evGrandPrix will be run during the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Emerging Tech Day, a part of its centennial celebration. Thirty teams from 10 universities in the United States, Ireland and England are expected to race on a course set up on the Speedway grounds.

Sprint races will begin at 1 p.m. The grand prix will begin at 2:30 p.m. Gates will open at noon. The event is free and open to the public.

More information is available at http://www.evgrandprix.org  and http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/indy500/eventinfo/41451/ 

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu  

Source: Eric Dietz, 765-494-9793, jedietz@purdue.edu