Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Johnson Controls will invest US$138.5 million to convert its battery plant in Ohio into an Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery facility for start-stop and other high-efficiency vehicles. It will be the company’s first such plant in the U.S.

Already in use on several vehicles in Europe, and available on some Porsche and upcoming Buick with eAssist models in North America, start-stop is a technology applied to regular gasoline vehicles that automatically shuts the engine off at idle and restarts it when the driver takes his foot off the brake. The technology reduces fuel use and emissions by five to 12 per cent.

“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 of 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 is currently the leading supplier of start-stop batteries in Europe through its Varta brand. In 2010, the company supplied three million Varta start-stop batteries in Europe and is adding capacity there to reach 11.2 million batteries by 2015.

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