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Johnson Controls Launches Lithium-Ion Development Lab

Johnson Controls, the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive original equipment and aftermarket batteries, has launched a $4-million advanced lithium-ion battery development laboratory in Milwaukee to work on solutions for hybrid-electric vehicles.

Johnson Controls is an established supplier (through its Varta acquisition) of nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries for hybrid-vehicle applications in Europe. In January, Johnson Controls introduced a new 7.2-volt, 7.0 Ah prismatic NiMH battery. (Earlier post.)

The company is focused on developing and delivering lithium-ion batteries as the next-generation of energy storage for hybrids while continuing its NiMH work.

Current company R&D efforts on lithium-ion technology focus on cathode materials, new cell designs for better thermal management, modular designs that enable the integration of safety technologies, and cell balancing to ensure safe operation as well as extended performance and cycling.

In 2004, the company was granted a contract for lithium-ion battery development by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC). In this program, Johnson Controls has been tapped to develop an abuse-tolerant, lithium-ion battery offering extended life and significantly improved power- to-weight performance vs. current hybrid-battery technology. The USABC, which includes the U.S. Department of Energy, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors as members, supports research and development for advanced energy systems to power future HEVs.




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