Xtreme Batteries is ramping up production of a new high-tech truck battery at its plant in the Grove Industrial Park and could eventually employ as many as 116 employees, according to Don Nelson, member of the Grove Industrial Development Trust Authority board.

The company has spent $5 million so far in putting the production plant into operation.

Nelson made the announcement at Monday's GIDA monthly meeting.

The new batteries, which are designed for long haul trucks, eliminate the need for running engines overnight to power air conditioning/heating and lights, saving on diesel fuel.

The plan currently employees 30 people, Nelson said.

In other action the board discussed changing the name of the GIDA to Grove Economic Development Authority (GEDA), and approved a new economic development agreement with Pride Plating, which continues to grow at its Grove location east of the city. The agreement provides for $40,000 in financial assistance contingent on Pride Plating’s ability to increase employment to 95 full-time employees by April 1, 2011 and expand its facilities to 40,000 square feet by the same date.

The board also tabled new policies on purchasing until the next meeting.