Johnson Controls and Saft Launch Electric-Drive Venture
DETROIT, Jan. 10 -- Johnson Controls and Saft have today launched their new joint venture, to supply advanced-technology batteries for current- and future-generation hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). The official start-up of the new joint venture was announced today at the 2006 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
The new joint venture is, on an exclusive basis, involved worldwide in the development, production and sale of nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion batteries for HEVs and EVs. Johnson Controls and Saft are combining their development teams within existing locations, and plan to develop state-of-the- art manufacturing sites based on market demand. The companies are also combining their sales and marketing resources in order to address this fast-growing market.
An expanding global market for HEVs has begun to emerge, driven by consumer concerns about rising gasoline prices, as well as growing public interest in low-emissions vehicles.
Current-generation HEVs rely on nickel-metal-hydride batteries. Within the next several years, lithium-ion batteries are likely to become the preferred choice for HEVs, because they offer key advantages in size, weight and power- storage capacity. The new Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture will give global automakers new sourcing options and production capabilities for a full range of EV and HEV battery solutions.
"This new organization represents a significant step forward for our companies and the automotive industry overall," said Gregg Sherrill, group vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls. "Together, we will accelerate our participation in the HEV market, and drive to develop, commercialize and supply innovative power-storage technologies for environmentally friendly vehicles. Saft's proven expertise in high- performance, advanced battery technologies complements our great strengths at Johnson Controls, which include high-volume production capabilities and outstanding knowledge of the global car industry," Sherrill said.
"The benefits of the combined resources of our two companies give us confidence that we will achieve significant market breakthroughs in the next 12 months," comments John Searle, Saft CEO.
At the 2006 NAIAS event, Johnson Controls is showcasing its latest products and innovations. The company's exhibit, in room D2-15 of Detroit's Cobo Center, includes a number of displays and prototypes' highlighting the joint venture's advanced battery technologies. Prominently featured is a prototype sport-utility vehicle (SUV) that has been retrofitted with an advanced concept lithium-ion based battery. The concept SUV gives visitors an example of the packaging and performance advantages of lithium-ion batteries vs. current generation nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
Johnson Controls has been at the forefront of research and development activities to create advanced batteries for HEVs. In September 2005, the company launched an all-new, lithium-ion battery development laboratory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which will become an asset of the joint venture. Johnson Controls was recently awarded its first HEV nickel-metal-hydride battery development order for an automaker. For more than a decade, the company has produced advanced batteries for HEV bus applications in Europe.
Saft has been developing lithium ion batteries for the automotive industry for 10 years and has recently delivered prototype batteries to major auto manufacturers both in the US and Europe.
Both companies have also done extensive work in lithium-ion battery development sponsored by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC).
Saft is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of advanced-technology batteries. Saft batteries are used in high-performance applications, such as industrial infrastructure and processes, and the transportation, space and defense industries. Additional information about Saft is available online at: http://www.saftbatteries.com .
Johnson Controls, a leading supplier of automotive interiors, also is the world's largest manufacturer of vehicle batteries for original-equipment and aftermarket applications. Johnson Controls is a global leader in interior experience, building efficiency and power solutions. The company provides innovative automotive interiors that help make driving more comfortable, safe and enjoyable. For buildings, it offers products and services that optimize energy use and improve comfort and security. Johnson Controls also provides batteries for automobiles and hybrid electric vehicles, along with systems engineering and service expertise. Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) has 136,000 employees in more than 1,000 locations serving customers in 125 countries. Founded in 1885, the company is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For additional information, please visit http://www.johnsoncontrols.com .
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