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Local plant to make advanced batteries

A manufacturing plant in St. Joseph will produce a next-generation automotive battery for one of Chervolet’s most popular vehicle models.

The Johnson Controls facility in St. Joseph was one of two manufacturing facilities chosen to produce a new Absorbent Glass Mat battery technology for Chevrolet’s 2014 Malibu. A Johnson Control’s factory in Toledo, Ohio, was the other facility chosen to make the batteries, which feature “start-stop” technology.

The battery technology is expected to increase the 2014 Malibu’s fuel economy by an estimated 5 percent.

In a start-stop system, the car’s engine will shut off when the driver comes to a stop or idles. Johnson Controls’ AGM battery will power devices during the stop mode and quickly restart the engine when the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal.

“AGM technology is better equipped than traditional batteries to power the deep cycling needed for frequent starts and stops,” said Ray Shemanski, vice president and general manager of the Original Equipment Group for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “With 5 percent fuel savings, drivers will see immediate economic benefits with start-stop at a competitive price when compared to hybrid and electric vehicles.”

AGM batteries are used for start-stop vehicles in Europe, where Johnson Controls has sold more than 21 million AGM batteries since 2001 and now produces more than 4.5 million annually.


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