The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

November 16, 2012

Anderson wins Echo thanks to automotive past

Company in the battery, electric vehicle business

ANDERSON, Ind. — Central Indiana’s long-standing work in the automobile industry attracted an Arizona-based firm, Echo Automotive, to locate in Anderson, company officials said Friday.

While walking through the Anderson facility Friday, Jason Plotke, chairman and president of Echo, discussed plans to commercially market its battery and electric vehicle technology by late 2013. Plotke said. Plans call for Echo’s battery kit to fit the van fleet market, notably the Ford 250 van.

Echo has located its facility at Flagship Enterprise Center, 2701 Enterprise Drive. The company, currently with 12 local employees, plans to hire 10 more by March 2013.

Echo’s site is in the one vacated by Bright Automotive, which shuttered its electric battery concept, also for fleet sales, when it failed to receive a federal funding to develop its business. Some employees who worked for Bright are now working for Echo.

Echo’s battery is expected to be in production by March, Plotke said.

The company’s new conversion product, EchoDrive, is to lessen fuel consumption by converting vehicles into plug-in electric hybrids. A vehicle could travel up to 100 miles per charge, Plotke said, with charging taking about six to eight hours.

The cost of the battery is expected to run between $10,000 to $12,000, which is perhaps a cost savings compared to some current compact car battery packs that begin at $12,000 to $15,000.

Echo is based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Echo chief executive officer Dan Kennedy said in a press release that “The company has reached a significant milestone by completing its first demonstration vehicle containing the EchoDrive from our facility in Anderson.” The vehicle is touring the Southwest before it returns to Indiana.

Plotke also said that charging the Echo battery at an electricity cost of 75 cents is comparable to paying $4 for a gallon of gas.

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