Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions (JCS) has been awarded a 24-month contract to develop advanced, lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC).

In the project, 50% financed by USABC, JCS will enhance lithium-ion battery technology for near-future HEVs. It will focus on accelerating Li-Ion technology development by improving battery power in low temperatures and reducing costs.

The USABC, an industry group, pursues research and development on advanced energy systems to boost the range and performance of future electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Members of the USABC include the United States Department of Energy along with DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors.

"Our priorities are to work on cell performance, systems development and cost reduction for lithium-ion technology," said Johnson Controls' vice president and general manager of the company's hybrid battery business, Alan Mumby, who also heads the JCS joint venture.

JCS and the United States Department of Energy are funding the project, and USABC is providing programme support. JCS will supply cell modules that can be tested for abuse tolerance, pulse power, calendar life, and cycle life. A major goal is to meet the FreedomCAR USABC battery-performance requirements. FreedomCAR is an industry government research initiative that targets the development of technologies for boosting fuel economy and reducing emissions of US passenger vehicles.

The JCS advanced battery hybrid systems team, located at the company's headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will direct the technology development program. Cell development efforts will be supported by JCS facilities in the United States and Europe.

In 2004, the USABC granted Johnson Controls an 18-month contract supporting the development of advanced, lithium-ion battery technology. That same year Saft was awarded a contract with the USABC of a similar nature. This new contract awarded to the joint venture is a culmination of the development work by both companies to drive the technology to commercial viability.

The Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture was officially launched in January 2006.

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