AGM batteries

Video highlights fuel-saving technology at Ohio battery plant

A Johnson Controls plant in Holland, Ohio, is featured in a new video showcasing fuel-saving Start-Stop technology powered by Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries.


The video was produced in collaboration with Johnson Controls and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Wildlife Federation and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. It highlights the ongoing transformation of the U.S. auto industry toward more high-mileage, low-emission vehicles.


The video released was shot on location in the Johnson Controls’ plant. It features front-line workers at the plant, as well as Johnson Controls’ management and engineering staff. 


“We have a great workforce here,” said Dave DeGraaf, vice president and general manager for Original Equipment, Americas, Johnson Controls Power Solutions.  “Right now, we have about 400 people, and with the addition of new lines for our deep-cycling absorbent glass mat batteries coming in, we’ve been able to add 50 new people.”


Johnson Controls recently completed a $138 million investment in the northwest Ohio facility. The company, which supplied 3 million absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries in Europe in 2010, has added capacity in its Ohio plant for up to 6 million AGM batteries to supply the North American market. 


“This investment shows how strong federal standards are working to deliver the innovative, fuel-saving  technologies consumers want, while also spurring the creation of new U.S. auto jobs in research, design and production,” said Roland Hwang, Director of Transportation Programs at NRDC.


Robust lead-acid AGM batteries, which deliver more power per pound, are essential to implementing Start-Stop technology.  Start-Stop turns off the vehicle engine during idle times, such as when a vehicle is stopped at a red light, and automatically re-starts when a driver engages the clutch or releases the brake pedal.  AGM batteries empower this technology by holding more electrical load for use during idle times and by efficiently cycling more frequent starts and stops than conventional batteries.


Start-Stop technology, already used in 40 percent of new vehicles in Europe, is expected to be rapidly adopted in the United States and is a key component of automakers’ strategies to meet new U.S. mileage standards, which require a doubling of fuel efficiency to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg by 2025.


By not using gas when idled, vehicles equipped with Start-Stop achieve a projected five to ten percent improvement in fuel efficiency, along with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The American Automobile Association projects that a typical consumer will save up to $167 a year in reduced gas costs in a vehicle equipped with Start-Stop, based on 12,000 driving miles per year, at an average gas price of $3.75 per gallon.


Lux Research, an independent industrial research firm, estimates that a cumulative total of eight million U.S. vehicles will be equipped with Start-Stop by 2017.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects that one out of four U.S. vehicles will be equipped with Start-Stop by 2025 – a potential market of $1.3 billion per year in battery sales.

Johnson Controls is positioned for significant growth in AGM batteries and Start-Stop technology. Including the Holland, Ohio facility, the company is planning for 19 million in capacity in the United States, Europe and Asia.  It predicts the global equipment market could reach 35 million vehicles by 2015.