North America's Largest Battery Research Center Opens

Johnson Controls, Inc., (NYSE: JCI) announced the opening of North America’s largest advanced battery research facility for electric vehicles (EVs). 

The facility, in Glendale, Wisconsin, was renovated partly using  a $299 million Recovery Act grant awarded in 2009. 

More than 46,000-square-feet of existing labs and office space were redesigned to support mass battery production in the new Battery Technology Center.

Johnson Controls also redesigned its Battery Test Facility, which was built in 2007, and expanded it by 50% to support testing advanced batteries in extreme conditions such as heat, cold and vibrations.

"Here, our engineers are testing, validating and readying for production the batteries that will go in the most energy-efficient vehicles that are on the road today," says Ray Shemanski, vice president and general manager for Johnson Controls Advanced Battery and CEO for Johnson Controls-Saft. "This includes a full technology range from advanced lead-acid batteries through Li-ion and alternate cell chemistries."

The newly renovated facility features the most high-tech equipment available, including a CT Scanner, X-ray Diffractometer and Dry Room. The renovation marks the first time the facility has been overhauled since 1983.

"Technology advancements in the automotive industry to improve internal combustion engine fuel efficiency and emissions are driving demand for advanced batteries to support Start-Stop, hybrid and electric vehicle applications," says Mary Ann Wright, vice president for Power Solutions Technology and Innovation. "

The ARRA grant and Johnson Controls’ matching investment have so far created 60 jobs at the company’s Power Solutions headquarters in Glendale, as well as 75 jobs in Holland, Mich., at the company’s Johnson Controls-Saft Lithium-Ion manufacturing and pack assembly facility for hybrid and electric vehicle batteries.

At full capacity, that facility is expected to employ more than 320 people.

Johnson Controls says it also made significant R&D equipment and scientific investments beyond the scope of the Recovery Act grant, including new labs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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