European Parliament Backs Taxing Cars on Emissions and Fuel Efficiency, Not Registration
Altair Nanotechnologies and Alcoa AFL Automotive to Develop Li-Ion Battery Pack for Medium-Duty Hybrid Trucks

Johnson Controls-Saft Signs Deal with Automaker for Li-Ion Batteries for MY2008 Hybrid

The Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions (JCS) joint venture has signed a letter of intent with a major vehicle manufacturer to supply lithium-ion hybrid vehicle batteries. The LOI is for the development phase, which is expected to lead to volume production for a late 2008 model year vehicle.

JCS will invest $15-$20 million for the production of the lithium batteries. This will be the first JCS European HEV lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant.

Last month, the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), a consortium of the US Council for Automotive Research&mash;an umbrella organization for collaborative research among DaimlerChrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.—awarded the JCS joint venture a 24-month contract to continue its development work for advanced, Li-Ion batteries for HEVs. (Earlier post.)

The focus of that project is on accelerating Li-Ion technology development by improving battery power in low temperatures, and creating solutions that reduce battery system costs.

JCS says that it has made tremendous progress in both the chemistry and manufacturing of lithium-ion hybrid batteries for HEV applications since the launch of the joint venture in January 2006, due to the combined strengths of both parents.


John W.

Oh, that's dirty pool to tell us this but not reveal which hybrid or at least which manufacturer is going to use these batteries!!

But at least it's rolling now thankfully! Hopefully more will follow suit soon over here.

Jonathan Smith

Well, John, let's apply a little trigonometry, k?

What major automobile company has announced testing of plug-in hybrid vehicles?

What major automobile company has been testing various battery systems with various electric vehicles since the 1990s?

What major automobile company has had previous arrangements with Saft for the supply of batteries tested?

Hint: The answer to all three question is one company name.

Rafael Seidl

Read between the lines: the mfg plant will be in sited in Europe, not the US nor Japan. Saft is a French company, but that does not neccessarily mean this plant will be built there, nor that the customer in this case is a French carmaker.

However, the location of the mfg plant does suggest that the vehicle(s) these new batteries will debut in could perhaps be destined for (part of) the European market, hitherto something of a backwater in the hybrid hype because of relative tax advantages for diesel fuel. If successful, EU tax harmonization efforts aimed at curbing fuel tourism by commercial hauliers could also lead to higher diesel prices at the pump for many consumers. National governments are not known for giving up major sources of revenue, since they would have to make up the shortfall by raising other taxes or cutting services:

Moreover, the EU commission is already signalling its displeasure at the (anticipated) failure of carmakers to meet their voluntary commitment to reduce fleet CO2 emissions for newly registered LDVs to 140 g/km by MY 2008. It is widely believed that further improvements will have to come from vehicles with spark-ignition engines, as local refinery/agricultural capacity for (bio-)diesel fuel is finite. Hybridization is one of many drivetrain technologies that is expected to help fill the gap, especially in the premium segment. Germany's vehicle license fees are based on engine displacement rather than the residual value of the vehicle.

In addition, there are "local content" rules for automobiles sold in the EU, designed to protect EU carmakers and jobs. HEV battery packs are big-ticket items. Given the still-low market penetration of hybrid LDVs in the EU, the first major carmaker to introduce Li-ion battery technology here may still be able to assert a measure of technology leadership. Whether this perception would translate to the US market remains to be seen.

Sid Hoffman

Isn't DaimlerChrysler already showcasing electric or HEV versions of the Smart? Isn't France one of the leading buyers of the Smart?


Sid - Daimler Chrysler also has the plug in hybrid Sprinter in testing currently.


Problem with Li-On batteries up to this point was that Li-On has had messy crystal structure and couldn't recharge as fast as NiMh batteries that are currently used in Hybrids. Which is especially important due to regenerative braking and keeping battery charge and using power only when necessary.

I know MIT and Subaru have made good steps forward in this, but I'm not sure if Johnson Controls have overcome this engineering hurdle.



Oui, Sid. And, as a prize for the correct answer, you win an indifferent Gallic shrug. Congratulations!


I remember Chrysler using SAFT NiMH in some EV minivans that were being tested at LAX. It seemed like a good idea to test there, because they put on a lot of miles in a short time. One of the benefits of NiMH for that application was the the very fast recharge. As I recall, they could recharge the whole bank in about and hour.

Jake Black

I just returned from the Minnesota State Fair where a new Toyota Prius was on display and advertising 100 miles to the gallon.In the trunk area, where the spare tire normally goes, was a large Lithium-On battery. It must have been at least 30 in. long and a foot wide and deep.It weighed 150 lbs.,charged in five hours and was good for around 20 miles.Research indicated that most people drive less than 20 miles round trip when going to work.Cost per mile using the electricity to charge the battery was 1.9 cents per mile.(much cheaper than gasoline).The attendant indicated that Toyota was hoping to have their hybrids equipped with a large Lithium battery in 2008. This car was for show only and of course by adding the big battery for this display, the warranty was voided in this case.Once Toyota begins designing their hybrids in 2008 with the Lithium battery included there will be no problem or concern about the warranty being voided. Posted by Jake Black Sept.6/06



I was also at the Minnesota State fair; that prius is the short term holy grail (if it works and avoids breaking down). Only 10k to overhaul, adds parts rather than replaces them. But they had to beg HyMotion to do the work up for them. As soon as there are authorized installers in my neck of the woods (Central Illinois), I'll probably buy one myself.


Another Li-Ion battery developer (ALTI)got contract from automotive systems supplier just today:

BTW, Rafael, don’t you think that displacement-based registration fee for gasoline engines favores turbocharged, or high-spinning (for average driving) engines, and put Miller, Atkinson, and slower spinning engines at disadvantage? It is exactly opposite to aid fuel efficiency. Look for example for parameters of the most efficient SI engine (aside from GDI), found in Toyota Prius?


look on the new french electric car.
write cleanovaon google and have a good reading

The comments to this entry are closed.