Johnson Controls says it is expanding the production of advanced batteries for start-stop vehicles amid growing demand for better fuel economy and more sustainable technologies.
The company will increase its existing Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery capacity in its Toledo, Ohio, plant, bringing the overall invested amount to $130 million since the start of production for this technology in the U.S. in 2012.
‘Consumers want to drive vehicles further using less gas,’ says Johnson Controls' Petar Oklobdzija. ‘They want to buy vehicles with technology that is available today and is affordable. The solution is start-stop technology.’
Tightening government fuel economy and carbon emission reduction targets put additional challenges on car makers from all around the world to replace conventional technologies with more efficient, advanced technologies, notes Johnson Controls.
‘Most auto makers have already announced plans to have a majority of new vehicles equipped with start-stop or similar technology within the next three to five years,’ adds Oklobdzija. ‘Our battery supply contracts for the Ford F-150 and Chevy Malibu underscore this trend, which predicts about 9 million start-stop vehicles will be on the road in the U.S. by 2020.’
According to Johnson Controls, start-stop enables up to 5% fuel economy savings over a conventional vehicle. The technology automatically shuts off the engine when the car is idle and restarts it when the driver's foot leaves the brake pedal. During this time, the vehicle's electrical systems – from entertainment to lights – use energy from an advanced lead-acid battery rather than the gasoline-powered engine, thus saving fuel.
‘AGM batteries are the best solution for start-stop vehicles because they enable the frequent charge-discharge cycles the vehicle requires. When the Toledo plant expansion finishes in 2016, our capacity will add to Johnson Controls global production capabilities in Europe and China,’ concludes Oklobdzija.