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Johnson Controls Introduces re3 Concept Plug-in Hybrid at Detroit Show

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



Is there a price?


Sounds good - a 20 mile range PHEV system.
Lots of opportunity to optimize the use of electric vs ICE driving.
Until they get the batteries right (which could take a while), this is the space to play in - small capacity PHEVs with driving mode optimization.


Sounds like an expensive golf cart.



You can see it this way ...but it just means that you think that you will be able to keep driving truck or SUV for cheap in the future. My advise is : enjoy your truck now because you won't in the future


Good improvement.
However there is no neergy improvement.
There is only a shift of where the pollution is made.
We need to find solutions in light weight transportation. Currently we try to transport our 70-90 kg avarage in a vehicle that weighs 25 times as much. So this is an efficientie of less than 4%. The real innovation needs to come from new leightweight transportation.



"There is only a shift of where the pollution is made."

Except that we are more able to purchase our electric power from utilities offering renewables. If you buy your electric from solar, wind, hydro sources - there is no relocated pollution. Just clean electric power.

Here's a good link for this very purpose:



Gas cogeneration power plants extract 70-80% of the energy from their fuel. ICE engines in cars extract about 1/4th of that much. From a well-to-wheels point of view, Electric and PHEV create far less pollution per mile, and cost considerably less on the margin to drive each additional mile. That is goodness.
Using the electric power train to avoid cold starts, when an ICE engine is dirtiest also dramatically reduces pollution in a PHEV.

What Johnson is doing here is showing off their peripherals by mocking up a PHEV. However, this particular mockup looks like a pretty compelling car, that if manufactured would probably cost less than $22K to purchase, and probably cost 40% less per mile to drive than a comparable ICE hatchback.

I don't know if that makes it more economical overall than a $15K econobox, (depends on the price of gas), but it might.


Dear Treehugger:

Please don't get hot under the collar and fly off the handle. It's unbecoming.

If you must know I don't drive a truck and never have. As a matter of fact I currently drive a 2006 Honda Civic which I enjoy. I also fly a single engine airplane on business and pleasure that gives me better fuel efficiency than flying the airlines with their fuel wasting hub system.

Before screaming and yelling get your facts straight.

I'm still of the opinion this vehicle is an over priced golf cart.

Will S

"I'm still of the opinion this vehicle is an over priced golf cart."

Then you're wasting your time at this website. Transportation demand has to be scaled back to account for the expected peak in oil production (and for the obvious climate issues), so cars will need to be more frugal with liquid fuels, and energy overall. Hence, we need "green cars". My Honda Insight has less interior space that the car above, and it is by no means an "over priced golf cart". Your pleasure flying gives us a clue to your thoughts on fuel consumption.

And no one was screaming or yelling, so don't try such thinly veiled attempts to spin the readership otherwise.


Dear Will S:

Another eco freak who shoots off before knowing all the facts. In addition you guys certainly can't stand a diversity of opinion. Please tell us how does my pleasure flying give you a clue to my thoughts on fuel consumption?

My airplane cruises at 180 knots and burns 24 pounds of fuel per hour. It carries two passengers and crew comfortably. Try getting that kind of fuel burn per passenger mile on a 300 nautical mile trip flying commercial airlines using the hub system.

If you're so hung up on fuel consumption I recommend you drive a bicycle and stay off the beans to reduce flatulence which is a more potent green house gas than CO2. One more thing don't breath too heavily it depletes the O2 in the atmosphere.

This vehicle is nothing but an overpriced golf cart for the eco freak community.

Apres moi le deluge as a famous Frenchman once remarked.

Will S

Another eco freak who shoots off before knowing all the facts.

I video conference or take Amtrak, predominantly, instead of attempting to make weak justifications for fossil hydrocarbon consumption excesses. And I do bike frequently, thank you.

You must be very sad to see Bush/Cheney go. And must be puzzled about all this talk about energy independence, peak oil, climate change, and geo-political energy hegemony.

Your response style and content show that vous juste pissez dans le vent.

Stay glued to Faux News and keep the bubble intact...


Are you adults or kids? This back and forth is really annoying and wast of space. Why don't you agree to disagree and move on. Everyone has a right to have and express their opinion and let's respect one another. Just because one does not think like you that doesn't make him/her worse or better.
If you're trying to change someone's view bickering is a very poor choice, try to intelligently present your view and if others agree then kudos to you if not then move on. Some people are very hard to sway, and that's OK.
As far as green cars go, I drive Hummer H2 and Toyota Prius. By your standards here I should be kicking my own a55 and praising myself at the same time, which I don't :)
Express you opinion but don't judge others! Most people have good intentions in their hearts even though you might disagree with the choices they make.

Will S

Yes, good point.

Odd that you would have an H2 *and* a Prius; why bother with the latter if you hang onto the former? Are you in the middle of making a shift to reduce our energy dependency or ....?

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