MILWAUKEE — Johnson Controls has announced plans to invest $138.5 million to convert its battery plant near Toledo, Ohio, into an Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery facility for Start-Stop and other high-efficiency vehicles. Subject to final state and local incentives, the facility will be the company’s first such plant in the United States.
Start-Stop is a technology applied to a standard gasoline-powered vehicle that automatically shuts the engine off during idle, reducing fuel use and emissions by 5 percent to 12 percent, and restarts when the driver engages the clutch or releases the brake pedal.
"Start-Stop vehicle technology is emerging globally as one of the most affordable options for consumers who want to buy a more fuel-efficient car for very little added cost up front," said Alex Molinaroli, president for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "We see this market growing to 35 million batteries globally by 2015, and the United States is an important piece of the market."
Johnson Controls’ investment will add 6 million in AGM battery capacity to the company’s North American AGM footprint by 2013. The expansion will create 50 new jobs and retain 400 existing jobs in the community.
Johnson Controls is currently the leading supplier of Start-Stop batteries in Europe through its VARTA brand. In 2010, the company supplied 3 million VARTA Start-Stop batteries in Europe, and is adding capacity there to reach 11.2 million batteries by 2015.
"In addition to Start-Stop, our Original Equipment customers are also turning to our AGM technology to support many of their other new high-efficiency vehicles that place similar aggressive demands on the battery. Our superior AGM technology is proven in Europe, where we’ve enjoyed working with our customers to help them meet strict regulations on CO2 emissions," said Jorge Guillen, vice president, Start-Stop, for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "Our Toledo facility will be very important in helping to establish the same leadership here in the United States."
Pending final state and local approvals, Johnson Controls will receive a combination of tax credits and incentives from the state of Ohio totaling $25 million. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer and the first line will launch production in spring 2012.