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Johnson Controls introducing first-generation 48V Micro Hybrid battery at Frankfurt show (fuel economy benefit corrected)

The first-generation 48-volt Lithium-ion Micro Hybrid battery has the potential to enable up to 1% fuel savings in vehicles. Click to enlarge.

Johnson Controls unveiled its first-generation 48-volt Lithium-ion Micro Hybrid battery (earlier post) at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany. The company had shown demonstration modules earlier in the year at the Detroit Auto Show and the Hannover Messe.

Leveraging a dual voltage architecture, Johnson Controls’ Micro Hybrid battery system will involve a 12-volt lead-acid starter battery and a 48-volt Lithium-ion battery that enables optimization of energy generation and consumption. The Micro Hybrid technology has the potential to provide up to 15% fuel savings in vehicles and is available for testing with key automotive customers this December.

We expect this technology to play an integral role in meeting aggressive fuel economy and emission reduction targets. Micro Hybrid systems will be able to support the automotive industry’s needs at a much lower cost than hybrid or electric vehicles, and therefore, offer a mass-production solution that can be leveraged across our customers’ fleets.

—Ray Shemanski, vice president and general manager of the Original Equipment Group for Johnson Controls Power Solutions

The 48-volt battery is designed with the capacity to quickly capture energy from braking and can support higher loads such as air-conditioning and active chassis technologies. The 12-volt battery will continue to provide power to the vehicle starter, interior and exterior lights, and entertainment systems such as radios and DVD players.


The new battery offers the potential to change electrical load management due to its ability to support high power regeneration, and can support the electrification of new loads, such as air conditioning, active chassis and safety, and electric supercharging.

The prismatic Lithium-ion cells and complete systems for the Micro Hybrid battery prototypes will be made at Johnson Controls advanced manufacturing facility in Holland, Mich. The battery is designed with standardized components and size to help drive scale and minimize cost.

The company expects the 48V Micro Hybrid technology to be adopted in Europe first, due to more stringent fuel economy and emissions standards, and then to move to US markets in the next few years with global adoption starting in 2020.

Separately at the Frankfurt show, automotive supplier Continental presented a new “48 Volt Eco Drive” system at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The new system supplements the traditional 12V electrical network with a 48V electrical system and components—including a Li-ion battery—bridging the gap between low-end hybridization based on present-day 12V start/stop systems and more sophisticated high-voltage hybrid solutions. (Earlier post.)




Why would I need this complicated battery when there isn't anything running on 48v yet? And, let's hope by 2020 we are driving EVs and don't need it...a DC to DC converter is a wonderful thing and electronic control system all run just fine on 12v.

The battery makers have been trying to sell higher voltage accessory drive batteries for years. 48v batteries have always been an expensive product looking for a problem to solve.


If you read this: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/09/20130911-jc.html you'll learn the benefits of 12/48 volt split.


A 1% fuel saving is truly breathtaking!


I suspect that the real gains come from greater idle-stop operation with accessories (e.g. air conditioning) continuing to run, electric power steering, electric supercharging of downsized engines and TIGERS feeding the HV bus.  None of that would be in the baseline 48V system.


"The battery makers have been trying to sell higher voltage accessory drive batteries for years." Yes, true. However, this time the car companies are listening, because it's better to be seen doing the intermediate step than to only fail at doing the full step change. In other words, they hope this will placate those insisting on better MPG, without having to actually change to a preferable (from the consumer standpoint) but less profitable technology.

Alan Parker

48v and aluminum wiring is almost certainly coming to production vehicles within the next few years. It will be nice to eventually ditch the ancient lead-acid 12v battery,


Aluminium wiring is not a panacea. It has a tendency to break and come lose at and/or near the connecting points, after a few years. It has been restricted and/or banned in our area for more than 15 years.


Aluminum wiring has a tendency to form high resistance splices which become a fire hazard. This type of wiring was banned for in house use except at points of entry into the home as well as being banned for aviation use.

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