Issue: Jun 2010


Johnson Controls is Given Volkswagen Group Award 2010 for Sustainable Energy Storage System



by Jon Knox

How can emissions and fuel consumption be reduced? Those are core questions driving car manufacturers and suppliers in their developments today. The focus is not only on the long-term objective of the electric car but also the short-term objective aimed at optimisation of Start-Stop vehicles. As today's market leader in Start-Stop technology, Johnson Controls has worked with Volkswagen to develop a unique new battery for Start-Stop vehicles that is both high-performance and more resistant to heat. It gives car manufacturers more design flexibility and is also suitable for operation in hot countries. This operation, which will be further developed for heat resistance, supports Volkswagen in the implementation of its sustainability strategy over all climate zones. Volkswagen recently honoured this new Johnson Controls battery with its Group Award.

Experts agree that electromobility will be achieved in several individual steps. "In the next few years the demand for cars at the first hybridisation stage of Start-Stop technology will be greatest. Solutions that reduce the fuel consumption and emissions in these cars are in particular demand," says Eric Mitchell, Vice President and General Manager at Johnson Controls Power Solutions EMEA. The solution is called the AGM battery (Absorbent Glass Mat). It is the heart of the system.

Particular demands on the battery

In Start-Stop technology the engine switches off automatically when the car is stopped and is reactivated when the driver operates the clutch or the accelerator. This places extra requirements on the battery, which demands advanced battery technology to support. An AGM battery allows the engine to start-up automatically, while still providing power for lights and radio at all times.

On the way to a more heat resistant battery

The new technology improves the performance and life of AGM batteries, especially in environments with high heat. By modifications to the negative mass in the battery the energy store becomes more corrosion-resistant and has a lower water consumption. This gives car manufacturers flexibility to integrate the battery into the vehicle where high temperatures generally arise. It is also an advantage in hot climates where there is already a high temperature under the bonnet while the car is parked.

Experts from Volkswagen and Johnson Controls developed the technology in Hanover. The battery is produced in Zwickau and Hanover in the standard sizes L5, L6 and L7 and supplied to almost all Volkswagen Group production sites in Europe. This high-performance and environmentally-friendly new battery is for use in all BlueMotion models with Start-Stop function. In the future it also will be available in several other vehicles.

Environmental protection also for the old battery

Johnson Controls is committed to environmental sustainability. For decades the company has been a leader in the development of an infrastructure to collect and recycle used batteries. Through its "EcoSteps(TM)" initiative, every battery returned by customers and workshops is completely recycled. The lead is almost 100 percent reused in new batteries. The company is in addition supporting the World Wide Fund (WWF) Germany with this initiative.

"We are very pleased about the Volkswagen Group Award and to be appointed as one of Volkswagen's premium suppliers. It is at the same time an incentive and confirmation of our pursuit for innovative and sustainable solutions and also consistent customer orientation," says Eric Mitchell.

The annual "Volkswagen Group Award" is an honor for entrepreneurial total performance of suppliers that fulfill the demands of Europe's leading auto manufacturer.

Johnson Controls is the leading provider worldwide of lead batteries and energy storage systems for hybrid and electric vehicles. In our 30 factories we produce more than a third of the lead batteries produced worldwide for famous car manufacturers and spare parts suppliers. With our innovations we promote and shape the market for advanced energy storage systems for driving hybrid and electric vehicles. Our Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture is the first company worldwide to produce lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles in large volume production. Our first-class technologies, production facilities and recycling expertise demonstrate the high significance that we attach to sustainability.

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