Battery maker’s new tech at Detroit auto show could be produced in West Michigan

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jan 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-13 23:41:33-05

DETROIT -- While it's an event happening on the east side of the state in Detroit, that doesn't mean there still isn't a bit of West Michigan to be found at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

Auto supplier Johnson Controls, which has facilities in the Holland area, showed off new battery technology during the show aimed at helping customers save more when it comes to fuel efficiency.

The new power system is for advanced start-stop vehicles. When paired with the supplier's existing start-stop system technology, it delivers improved fuel savings increased from about five percent to eight percent.

The 12-volt lithium-titanate battery could wind up being produced in Holland, according to Lisa Bahash, group vice president of original equipment at Johnson Controls.

The supplier is considering its facility in West Michigan along with one in Germany, with the final decision depending on where the technology will be used first, Bahash said.

No word yet on which automakers will use the advanced system.

While the existing battery helps to start the engine and power vehicle accessories like the radio and navigation system, the new battery technology would be used in conjunction to primarily collect energy lost during vehicle braking. known as regenerative braking.

“You’re reusing energy, using it to charge up the battery and then the battery is used to power all the accessories—navigation, heated seats, air conditioning, and to restart the vehicle when you remove your foot from the brake," Bahash said.

Bahash said the idea is to create energy storage systems that cost less than systems used in traditional hybrid vehicles while still allowing customers to meet increasing fuel and efficiency standards.

The battery will be ready for production by 2018.