North American lead-acid giant East Penn Manufacturing has reaffirmed its intention of moving into the lithium-ion market with the purchase of a majority interest in Navitas Systems.
The move allows East Penn to expand its motive power battery offering and ‘strategic integration’ into other market segments in a bid to provide a wider range of energy storage system solutions.
However, East Penn said its remains focused on manufacturing lead batteries— and expanding its offerings to be able to enter into new markets.
The company released a lithium-ion product for forklift applications through its Deka Ready Power brand in April.
Navitas makes battery technology and systems for heavy-duty commercial/industrial as well as government/defence market segments.
Navitas will continue to be run by its management team, with their research and manufacturing facilities remaining in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Its expertise will add to East Penn’s current lithium R&D programme.
The Pennsylvania based company first talked of a move into lithium-ion in 2016, when its former CEO, Daniel Langdon, spoke of the new ‘mindset’.
The company is one of many lead-acid firms to embrace lithium-ion technology in the past year.
German firm Varta— through its subsidiary Varta Storage — has deployed its ‘Pulse’ lithium–ion ESSs as part of the European project WiseGRID.
India’s biggest lead-acid battery maker, Exide Industries, is to start producing lithium-ion cells from a new plant in Gujarat, India, by the close of this year.
Last April, Chinese lead-acid battery group Tianneng Energy Technology and France’s Saft formed a joint venture to expand lithium-ion manufacturing and “scale up its e-mobility and energy storage businesses”.
In July, India’s Amara Raja said supplying lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles represented a multi-billion-dollar “sunrise space” to expand business in the country, while keeping its focus on lead-acid.