Johnson Controls says it is expanding its production capacity of Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries for start-stop vehicles in China to support the rising market demand.

Johnson Controls recently launched new production lines for AGM batteries in its Changxing Plant, Zhejiang province facility. The plant’s current AGM battery capacity has been increased to over 3m units a year, more than double the prior year capacity. The total annual capacity of the plant now reaches approximately 10m batteries, making it Johnson Controls’ largest battery manufacturing facility in China. The AGM capacity expansion project is ongoing and expected to be completed in 2017. Over the next five years, Johnson Controls is investing $780m to grow global production capacity for start-stop vehicle batteries.

“We see growing market demand for AGM batteries, as start-stop vehicles are getting more and more popular in China and around the world.” said Kenneth Yeng, vice president and general manager, Johnson Controls Power Solutions China. “By 2020, around 50%, or 15m new vehicles annually will be equipped with start-stop functionality. We are adding the capacity to meet the market momentum while following our global manufacturing standards to ensure outstanding performance and quality.”

The company predicts that between 2016 and 2020, the global market will surge from 25m to 65m vehicles in North America, Europe and China. In China alone, start-stop penetration for new vehicle production is expected to be around 50%, driven by increasing fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission targets set by the government. Start-stop technology provides up to 5% fuel savings every time drivers fill up their gas tank. It is easy for automakers to apply to traditional internal combustion engines, and easy to use, no change in driving habits required. As the ideal energy storage solution for start-stop systems, Johnson Controls AGM batteries are engineered for superior starting power and improved performance, to achieve the fuel economy benefits, support more complicated power needs as well as to ensure a smooth driving experience of start-stop vehicles.