World’s First Lithium-Ion Automotive Battery Plant Inaugurated
Definitely a day to remember. US Johnson Controls and France based Saft Advanced Power Solutions opened the world’s first ever factory that exclusively manufactures lithium-ion batteries for application in electric and hybrid vehicles. Johnson Controls is one of the world’s largest supplier of automotive batteries and Saft is among the biggest producers of nickel-cadmium and lithium-ion batteries.
Situated in Nersac, France, the plant will manufacture 5,000 batteries annually to start with and will subsequently increase production to meet the demands of the customers, a list that also boasts of General Motors, Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz. Increase in production will reduce costs therby making technology more affordable for many other manufacturers.
"We will have a global operation with capabilities in each of the regions," said Alex Molinaroli, head of power solutions for Johnson Controls US. "The customers (of Johnson Controls) are all GM hybrid buyers, so this battery is likely to be linked with that particular technology," added Molinaroli referring to the hybrid drivetrain collaboration between GM, BMW and Diamler Chrysler.
Financial Times predicts the number of hybrid and electric vehicles produced will increase considerably in the future and this joint venture is one big indication. "GM has talked about an entire plant of HEV transmissions at that usually means 300-350,000 per year. That would certainly be an equal amount of batteries at least," added Molinaroli.
The star car which will feature this battery is Mercedes’ S-Class 400 hybrid.