|Johnson Controls packaged the 96-cell Li-ion pack in a front floor console unit. Click to enlarge.|
Johnson Controls unveiled its re3 concept plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The re3 concept is designed to highlight Johnson Controls’ capabilities in seating, interiors, electronics and hybrid power solutions applied in the small car segment.
On the powertrain side, the re3 concept features an air-cooled, 96-cell, 22 Ah Li-ion battery pack with approximately 8.2 kWh of capacity and a discharge capacity of greater than 50 kw. Electric range for the concept is approximately 20 miles.
To maximize storage and passenger space in the small car configuration, Johnson Controls packaged the battery system in a front floor console unit. The placement of the energy storage system maintains a low center of gravity and maximizes the distance to the perimeter of the vehicle. The design also maximizes rear cargo storage and enables three passenger seating in the rear seat by utilizing the space between the two front seats in the center tunnel.
Majid Taghikhani, Project Leader, Hybrid Systems for Johnson Controls-Saft (JCS), said that the current design is about as large as they can go and still retain the console-only packaging. Although increasing capacity would be feasible by moving to a module structure, with additional packs under the seats for example, Taghikhani said they would rather stay away from that due to losses from connecting the packs.
Echoing an increasingly prevalent theme coming from automakers and suppliers, Johnson Controls said that it recognizes that the automotive market has shifted and that consumers today demand smaller cars, which are more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly—but without compromising features and functions.
In addition to the plug-in powertrain, the re3 is a platform for a range of new elements developed by Johnson Controls, including: new, class-leading storage capacity in the instrument panel, enabled by the company’s Ecospace technology; An “extended cluster,” which includes a traditional gauge cluster, along with a 7-inch color, touch panel display; a seat-wing armrest and controller on the driver’s seat, enabling some of the controls to be moved from the center stack to the seat; a conversational seating arrangement, offering new ways to interact in the interior, as well as Slim Seating and rear, stadium-style folding seats; and renewable materials with “natural look” finishes throughout the interior.
From a sustainability perspective, the re3 provides significant mass reduction, renewable materials, and smart features that enable efficiency. In the cockpit and on the door panels, surfaces are comprised of exposed natural and environmentally friendly substrate material with a fiber-wood appearance. By eliminating the A-surface material, Johnson Controls achieved a 30% weight reduction. Also by reducing the number of plastic parts in the interior, the use of petroleum-based materials was decreased.
Our re3 concept shows how we can redesign and improve the interior of a small vehicle to meet the needs of consumers while adding tremendous value for our customers. People want smaller vehicles with better fuel economy, eco-friendly materials and the luxuries and utility that make the driving experience enjoyable, and the re3 is a great demonstration of our ability to help meet these needs through innovation.—Jeff Williams, group vice president and general manager, North America for Johnson Controls Automotive Experience