Billed as batteries made in America, backed by America and for America, advanced U.S. military technology that was paid for by stimulus cash will now be in Russian hands.
‘The question is which nation is going to seize the future,” Vice President Joe Biden said in a January 2011 speech praising federal support for car battery maker Ener1 Inc. at its facility in Mount Comfort, Ind. “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.”
That nation, apparently, is Russia. Just as U.S. tax dollars have gone to subsidize electric cars made in Finland by Fisker Automotive, state-of-the-art technology developed by Ener1, which was also supposed to rejuvenate the American auto industry, is now owned outright by Boris Zingarevich, a Russian businessman with ties to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Zingarevich, who was Ener1′s largest shareholder from the beginning in 2002, acquired Ener1 out of bankruptcy March 30 with an agreement to infuse $81 million in financing.
It’s one thing to be an investor in technology. It’s quite another when you own it and determine where, how and for whom it will be put to use.
Ener1 had joined Solyndra, Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt and AES — all recipients of taxpayer dollars — in bankruptcy.
The company had tapped the country’s top scientists at Argonne National Lab in Illinois, and U.S. taxpayers pledged up to $118 million in stimulus funds from an administration that has grabbed taxpayers by the throat as well as $80 million in state and local incentives to help Ener1 produce cutting-edge battery technology for electric cars and the U.S. military.
Now that technology is owned by a Russian tycoon.