Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD), a global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products and systems for the building-integrated and commercial rooftop markets, has initiated a process to divest its Ovonic Battery Company (OBC) subsidiary. OBC invented NiMH rechargeable battery technology that is used globally in hybrid-electric vehicles, and in many consumer and commercial rechargeable batteries.
Among ECD/OBC’s past milestones are that in 1992, ECD was awarded the first USABC contract to develop EV batteries; first application of Ovonic EV NiMH battery pack was in the Chrysler TE van in 1993; a four-passenger car with Ovonic NiMH batteries won the Tour de Sol Race in 1996; and the first GM Ovonic NiMH batteries were installed in EV1 electric vehicles for lease customers in 1998.
OBC’s principal activities are licensing its advanced battery technologies (including NiMH and Li-ion technologies), participating in joint development programs to support application of these technologies, and manufacturing mixed-metal hydroxide cathode materials for sale to its licensees for use in battery production.
OBC has an established patent position and world-class manufacturing capability for its proprietary nickel hydroxide cathode materials. OBC is also developing a new technology, the Proton-ion battery, with higher energy density and lower cost than today’s battery technologies.
ECD’s Ovonic Battery Company is a pioneer in developing advanced battery technologies for consumer, stationary and vehicle applications, and enjoys tremendous success licensing its technologies worldwide. Given ECD’s focus on its solar business, we have elected to seek a buyer that will leverage Ovonic Battery Company’s substantial technology portfolio and provide it with a platform for expanding the commercialization and licensing of its advanced battery technologies.—Jay Knoll, Interim President of ECD