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Dow hopes to begin construction on plants in Michigan to build the batteries.

Prabhakar Patil, chief executive officer at Compact Power, said in an interview with The Washington Times last month concerning his company’s foreign ties, “Any business that wants to be successful has to have a level of independence and, ultimately, the ability to sustain itself. And you have to be prepared to do it without government intervention.”

He said he hopes the company will be independent of LG Chem by 2012. He said LG Chem recognized early that the United States would be a “strategic priority” in the production of lithium-ion batteries and has given him the “level of independence to make that happen.”

EnerDel has two plants in Indiana and has said it could begin production as soon as the grants were awarded.

The Washington Times reported in July that, according to U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) records, Boris Zingarevich, a wealthy Russian timber magnate, is listed as the “indirect beneficial owner” of an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands known as Bzinfin, SA, that held 57 percent of the outstanding common stock of Ener1 Inc., the parent company of EnerDel.

The SEC records also showed that Bzinfin SA held 66 percent of the shares of Ener1’s parent company, the Ener1 Group, an $11 billion privately held investment and advisory firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

In announcing the awards during a stop in Indiana, Mr. Obama said the “battle for America’s future will be fought and won in places like Elkhart and Detroit, Goshen and Pittsburgh, South Bend, Youngstown — in cities and towns across Indiana and across the Midwest and across the country that have been the backbone of America.”

He said the awards were part of the stimulus package aimed at “not only putting people back to work in the short term, but laying a new foundation for growth and prosperity in the long run” to produce jobs.

“So that’s why I’m here today — to announce $2.4 billion in highly competitive grants to develop the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks powered by the next generation of battery technologies all made right here in the U.S. of A.,” he said.

“For too long, we failed to invest in this kind of innovative work, even as countries like China and Japan were racing ahead. That’s why this announcement is so important: This represents the largest investment in this kind of technology in American history,” he said.

The president made no mention of the fact that only EnerDel has facilities up and running in the United States to produce the batteries, and that the other firms build their products overseas. Much of the technology in developing the new batteries, including the lithium-ion battery, was developed in Asia.