Johnson Controls and Toshiba Link on Lithium-Ion Batteries

Johnson Controls Power Solutions and Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation have joined to deliver low-voltage lithium-ion batteries and systems to meet automaker demands for improved efficiency, lower costs and less complexity. Under the agreement, Johnson Controls will collaborate with Toshiba to develop and manufacture lithium-ion batteries and pair them with existing lead-acid battery technology as part of so-called dual-battery systems.

Dual-battery vehicles are projected to be the fastest-growing form of electrification and by 2025 will account for approximately 20% of new vehicles built globally, according to IHS, Markit.

Adoption rates could be even greater in locations with strict fuel economy standards. Because paired systems require minimal powertrain alterations, automakers can deploy them across multiple vehicle lines with a lower investment than other electrified powertrains. Consumers also benefit, as paired systems achieve up to 8% greater fuel efficiency than a conventional systems.

“Low-voltage dual-battery technology is the next step in the evolution of vehicle systems that helps to strike a balance between consumer demands, increasing regulations and automaker economics,” claims Brian Cooke, group vice president, Products, Power Solutions, Johnson Controls.

“We are happy to use our lithium-ion technology to realize an eco-friendlier world,” said Fujio Takahashi, general manager of Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation. Toshibas technology uses a lithium-titanium anode to deliver safety, a long life, low-temperature performance, rapid charging, high input and output power, and a large effective capacity, according to the Japanese firm.

The Holland, MI, plant opened in 2010 by Johnson Controls. It was first in the United States to produce complete lithium-ion battery cells and systems. Earlier this month Johnson Controls International said it would withdraw from its last remaining automotive industry manufacturing operations in West Michigan by selling its Power Solutions division to Brookfield Business Partners LP for $13.2 billion.

The private equity firm partnered on the deal with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a Quebec City-based pension fund manager. The transaction is expected but not certain to close by June 30, 2019. The Toshiba linkup appears to be a hedge by Johnson.

JCI’s Power Solutions business produced a range of traditional lead-acid batteries, as well as advanced lithium-ion batteries for applications in hybrid and electric vehicles.

In a statement announcing the deal, Brookfield and CDPQ cited the advanced battery operations as a competitive advantage for the company in the years ahead.


About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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