Ener1 Expands Relationship with Japanese Lithium Battery Equipment Manufacturer

Growing Relationship with ITOCHU Strengthens Auto Opportunity and Opens Door to Solar, Wind Energy Storage Markets.

Published: 04-Feb-2009

NEW YORK -- Ener1, Inc. (Nasdaq: HEV), maker of advanced lithium-ion batteries, today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ITOCHU Corporation, a highly diversified global trading company that leads the world market in distribution of specialized equipment and materials needed to produce lithium-ion battery cells.

The purpose of the MOU is to set forth the parameters of the parties' relationship with respect to the introduction of Ener1's products into the Japanese marketplace. ITOCHU, which has strategic partnerships and equity ownership in the Japanese automotive manufacturing community, will serve as Ener1's Japanese sales, marketing and development partner for both the Japanese automotive OEMs as well as the Japanese Tier One suppliers.

The agreement also sets the stage for ITOCHU to introduce Ener1's batteries as an energy storage solution to the solar power markets, where ITOCHU is aggressively seeking to develop its business. Ener1 is currently the only company with the capacity to produce large-format automotive lithium-ion batteries on a commercial scale in the U.S., and currently has the manufacturing footprint in place to produce enough batteries each year to store 1.17 megawatt hours of electricity, with plans that could potentially expand that output to 3.12 megawatt hours annually. The MOU contemplates ITOCHU's possible extension of an equipment line of credit to Ener1 to fund this anticipated expansion.

"Solidifying this partnership opens up new market opportunities for our battery technology in and beyond the automotive sector at a time when we are ready to commence volume production," said Ener1 Chairman and CEO Charles Gassenheimer. "We also feel privileged to have ITOCHU representing Ener1 in the sales and marketing of our cells, modules and battery packs to the Asian auto manufacturers and Tier One supply community. We believe that this will open doors for our U.S. supply of batteries as well as bolster our growing international manufacturing presence."

"Today's announcement marks an important step forward in our six year relationship with Ener1," said Yutaka Kato, Chief Operating Officer of ITOCHU's Industrial Machinery and Solutions Division. "We believe Ener1 is in a unique position to be able to supply the world's automotive market today, with a superior technology that we intend to develop with Japanese systems integrators to provide an advanced energy storage solution for the emerging solar and wind technologies. ITOCHU believes that Ener1 is one of the unique global players that can solve the problem of energy storage between the vehicle and the power grid."

"ITOCHU Corporation has been an incredibly important strategic partner for Ener1 since 2003, offering guidance and support during a period of major growth. This MOU sets forth what is a natural evolution of a close working relationship forged through some challenging times, designed to take advantage of the revolutionary opportunities we see before us today," said Mr. Gassenheimer. "Moreover, many of the key items outlined in the MOU have immediate action plans associated with them which could lead to significant revenue opportunities."

Safe Harbor Statement:

Certain statements made in this press release constitute forward-looking statements that are based on management's expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "believes," "scheduled," "estimates" and variations of these words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual future results and trends may differ materially from what is forecast in forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and the company does not undertake any obligation to update or publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances or changes in expectations after the date of this press release.

About Ener1, Inc.:

Ener1 develops and manufactures compact, high performance lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles. The publicly traded company (Nasdaq: HEV) is led by an experienced team of engineers and energy system experts at its EnerDel subsidiary located in Indiana. EnerDel has developed proprietary battery systems based on technology originally pioneered with the assistance of the Argonne National Lab.

Ener1 is seeking to become the first company to mass-produce a cost-competitive lithium-ion battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. Demand for battery solutions is being driven by a need to reduce dependence on oil as well as growing concern about vehicle emissions. In addition to the automobile market, applications for Ener1 lithium-ion battery technology include medical, military, aerospace, electric utility and other growing markets.

Major shareholders of Ener1 include Ener1 Group, Inc., a privately held, global investment and advisory firm, and ITOCHU Corporation, a Japanese trading company and distributor of manufacturing equipment essential to lithium-ion battery production. ITOCHU has annual revenue of approximately $90 billion and offices in more than 80 countries. Ener1 has also received funding from a growing number of institutional investors.

In addition to battery technology, Ener1 develops commercial fuel cell products through its EnerFuel subsidiary and nanotechnology-based materials and manufacturing processes for batteries and other applications through its NanoEner subsidiary.

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