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JCI works on cheaper EV, hybrid batteries

MILWAUKEE — Brian Kesseler, newly appointed president of Johnson Controls Inc.’s Power Solutions division, says propulsion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles don’t need to last 10 years. He is working on inexpensive ones that can be replaced after a few years, like standard car batteries. Kesseler spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett at the company’s battery lab here.

Q: Nearly all regular lead-acid car batteries are pretty much the same size and shape. Could automakers also make standardized cells for battery-powered and electrified vehicles?

A: Every automaker selling battery electric or electrified vehicles uses a unique battery pack. Customized solutions are about the most expensive because you can’t scale up production.

What we are solving for is how you get to scale and have it be a standard, core design that can be configured to meet the different automakers’ requirements. That will let us spread across automakers and global markets to get to high volume production. It requires different thinking for our customers and the industry. There are some paradigms that have to be challenged.

Such as?

Why do these battery systems have to last 10 years? And how much cost is being driven into the system because of it? Why can’t it be a replacement item, much like today’s lead-acid batteries?
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