Battery maker EnerDel, Inc. will invest $3.3 million in a research project to develop a technology to eliminate overcharging in lithium-ion cells.

The funds - obtained from the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program last month - will be allocated for the development of a new chemical additive that acts as a shuttle agent to effectively cap the voltage of the cell. The additive transports the charge through the cell once the desired voltage is reached.

Overcharging cells in pack systems is normally monitored with voltage monitoring circuits. Refining this at the base chemistry level of the cell will vastly improve reliability and overall pack efficiency, the company said in a statement.

The project will be conducted jointly with Argonne National Laboratories in Chicago.

EnerDel of Indianapolis, a unit of Ener 1, is ahead of its competitors for the U.S. market since it has a domestic lithium-ion battery factory for hybrid ,plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles.

EnerDel boasts it has the first plant in the U.S. with commercial-scale capacity production of the batteries to date. Its plant has the potential to produce enough lithium-ion battery cells to power 30,000 electric vehicles or 60,000 plug-in hybrids, according to Forbes.