Electrovaya, Chrysler Testing Batteries for Plug-in Hybrid Ram

Electrovaya has begun supplying battery packs for Chrysler’s government-backed plug-in hybrid truck demo, the Canadian battery developer said today. Electrovaya, which counts former Chrysler CEO Thomas LaSorda among its directors, also reported Monday that it edged past the million-dollar mark in its quarterly revenue during the first three months of this year.

In late March, Chrysler announced that it had tapped Electrovaya for a demo project backed by the Department of Energy. As part of the agency’s $2.4 billion battery grant program, Chrysler won a grant for up to $48 million to build 140 plug-in hybrid versions of its Dodge Ram truck in a 3-year demonstration project. A spokesperson for Electrovaya confirmed with us this morning that the two companies have now started jointly testing Electrovaya’s battery packs for use in the demo fleet — marking a step forward in electrification efforts from an automaker whose hybrid and EV initiatives have been sidetracked and delayed amid financial troubles.

Electrovaya brought in nearly $1.1 million in revenue during the quarter, compared to just $675,000 in the same period a year earlier. That wasn’t enough for the battery developer to end the quarter in the black, however. Electrovaya says today that it lost $1.2 million, or 2 cents per share, during the quarter, up from a loss of $237,000 or a penny a share, during the first three months of 2009. The company cites onetime legal and software expenses and non-cash stock option expenses as the main reasons for the net operating loss.

Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Electrovaya makes external battery packs for laptops, as well as battery systems (cells, modules and interfaces) for utility-scale energy storage and hybrid and electric vehicles. The company has also rolled out its own low-speed electric vehicle, the Maya 300 (pictured), in a small ExxonMobil-backed car-sharing program.

Electrovaya, working with nanostructured lithium-ion polymer technology, inked three deals with Chinese manufacturers in late 2008. But beyond the demo project currently underway, Electrovaya’s future with Chrysler — now managed and partly owned by Italy’s Fiat — is uncertain. For the electric version of the Fiat 500 minicar slated for a 2012 U.S. launch, the automaker plans to use batteries from A123Systems.

Electrovaya also has agreements with India’s Tata Motors and Norway’s Miljø Innovasjon for highway-speed electric cars, and it announced plans late last year to form a joint venture with India’s Hero Electric to build lithium-ion batteries for the Indian market as well as exports. The company (one of our 20 Battery Startups Hitting the Road With Lithium-ion) was founded in 1996 and began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange four years later.

Photo courtesy of Electrovaya

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