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Battery Maker Loses Out on Federal Grant

Quallion LLC has no immediate plans to abandon a proposed manufacturing facility in Palmdale after being turned down for a federal grant. The Sylmar-based maker of lithium ion batteries used by the military and in medical devices had applied for the grant to construct a new $220 million plant through the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. The company was putting up $20 million of its own money, secured tax breaks and a 9-acre site from the City of Palmdale and was promised $9 million from the California Energy Commission if the federal grant was approved. Quallion President Paul Beach called the loss of the grant a blow to the state’s clean transportation technology industry and clean energy initiatives. “We are evaluating our options and hope to move forward with the new facility in the near future,” Beach said. When the facility is completed the batteries made there are targeted for use in electric vehicles and in large trucks subject to anti-idling laws across the nation. Palmdale is willing to keep its offer of the land and tax incentives on the table and to negotiate with Quallion as it is likely the scope and scale of the facility will not be the same as when the company thought the federal money would be available, said David Walter, economic development manager. The company is maxed out in its space in Sylmar and if there are expansion plans Palmdale would like to be the location, Walter said. “I think we developed a good rapport with them,” Walter said. “I hope that something comes out of that rapport.” Quallion was co-founded by Alfred Mann, a name synonymous in Southern California with innovation in the medical field through MannKind Corp., the company of which he remains chief executive, and Advanced Bionics and MiniMed, both of which Mann later sold. Mark R. Madler

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