Oil and barbecue ain’t the only sources of energy in Texas. Since a 1996 breakthrough at the University of Texas, Austin has been something of a center for rechargeable battery technology. One of the many companies in the area is Voltabox, a subsidiary of German automotive supplier paragon AG, which chose Austin for its US headquarters in 2014 (and was profiled in the August 2014 issue of Charged).
This week, Voltabox of Texas celebrated the official opening of its new plant in the suburb of Cedar Park. The 22,000-square-foot facility was christened in proper Austin style, complete with speechifying politicians, a live band and plenty of hogs on the grill.
Voltabox is now operating an automated assembly line for battery packs, with further lines set to follow. Some of Voltabox’s German partners will also be sharing the space.
“Nine months after the groundbreaking ceremony we are now ready for operations with our own plant in Texas,” said Klaus Dieter Frers, founder and CEO of paragon AG. “What has emerged is a modern building and a real showroom for the company. We are particularly glad to have brought our German partners on board. Triathlon intends to supply US customers in the logistics industry with Voltabox battery packs. Aumann – the automation expert that manufactured our production lines – is set to follow at a later date.”
Most of Voltabox’s battery packs are heading to customers in the growing municipal bus market. In 2014, Voltabox of Texas obtained certification that over 60% of its value creation is based in the US – a necessary step to qualify as a supplier to US public-sector institutions.
“We have already successfully acquired several promising orders on the spot, confirming our decision to come to the US,” added Mr Frers.