FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 13, 2012
Contact: Roger Kerson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 734.929.2875 (o); 734.645.0535 (c)
Video at DrivingGrowth.org Shows
Five to Ten Percent Fuel Economy Gain and Reduced Emissions from “Start-Stop” Technology
$138 Million Investment, 50 New Hires at Facility Slated to Build Millions of New Batteries
Holland, Ohio ‚Äì Today, national environmental groups debuted a new video at DrivingGrowth.org, showcasing fuel-saving batteries being produced at a Johnson Controls factory in Holland, Ohio which is helping lead America to a clean energy future.
With recently adopted 54.5-mpg standards and a strong consumer market for fuel efficiency, auto suppliers are now moving forward with confidence to make investments in advanced, fuel-efficient components.
The video released today was shot on location in the Johnson Controls’ plant. It features front-line workers at the plant, who are members of UAW Local 12, as well as Johnson Controls’ management and engineering staff.
“We have a great workforce here,” says Dave DeGraaf, Vice President and General Manager for Original Equipment, Americas. “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.”
DrivingGrowth.org, sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Wildlife Federation and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, highlights the ongoing transformation of the U.S. auto industry towards more high-mileage, low-emission vehicles.
Johnson Controls, one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers, recently completed a $138 million investment in the northwest Ohio facility, adding 50 new hires and maintaining 400 jobs at the plant. Eight hundred construction jobs were also created as a result of this project.
The company, which supplied three million absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries in Europe in 2010, has added capacity in its Ohio plant for up to six 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.
More 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.
New crediting provisions in the latest federal fuel economy standards are providing a huge boost to Start-Stop and other innovative technologies whose benefits did not show up under the previous test programs. Smart regulations are a key driver for innovation in the auto supply chain.
Start-Stop technology, already used in 40 percent of new vehicles in Europe, is expected to be rapidly adopted in the U.S. 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 ‚Äì 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 U.S., Europe and Asia. It predicts the global equipment market could reach 35 million vehicles by 2015.
Also featured in the DrivingGrowth.org online video:
Brian Bishop, operator at Johnson Controls and member of UAW Local 12:
“The best thing about the AGM Start-Stop battery it is that it creates better gas mileage, which puts money back in people’s pockets.”
Mike Placzkiewicz, operator at Johnson Controls and member of UAW Local 12:
“I see a good future as the AGM battery takes off with the new vehicles. It should work out for us, and keep more people employed here.”
Eric Mehringer, Engineering Manager:
“We’ve been building batteries in Toledo for thirty years. Our workers take a lot of pride in the community, and this battery will just build upon that. We’re continuing to invest in this area and this community.”
The video is one in a series at DrivingGrowth.org featuring the technology being used to enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions in U.S. vehicles. Other videos feature:
- Turbochargers, dual-clutch transmissions and other fuel-saving technology being designed at BorgWarner’s Technical Center in Auburn Hills, MI.
- Electronic Power Steering (EPS), in production at Nexteer in Saginaw, MI.
- High-mileage Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Durangos, in production at Chrysler’s Jefferson North factory in Detroit.
- An Experimental, high mileage, low-emission engine, in testing at Lay Automotive Laboratories at the University of Michigan.
- The role of Detroit-area firms in creating the next generation of auto industry innovation, featuring non-profit incubator NextEnergy, Inc.
For more information about Driving Growth.org, please contact: Josh Mogerman, Natural Resources Defense Council, email@example.com
For more information about Johnson Controls, please visit www.johnsoncontrols.com