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JCI queers pitch for lead future with lithium SLI launch

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 11:22 -- Gerry Woolf
Johnson Controls and Toshiba team up

As lead pressure groups, including International Lead Association (ILA) and Eurobat, lobby for an extension of the usage of lead-acid battery technology beyond 2020 in Europe, one of the world’s largest lead-acid battery makers has unveiled a lithium-based starter system for start-stop vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It will be in production by 2018, the company says.

The lithium titanate battery, made in conjunction with Toshiba, will power advanced start-stop vehicles.

"Johnson Controls is pursuing opportunities to develop evolutionary low-voltage energy storage systems that will help our customers meet increasing fuel regulations at a lower cost than a hybrid or electric vehicle," said Lisa Bahash, group vice president and general manager Original Equipment, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "In partnership with Toshiba, we are expanding our lithium-ion product offerings to support the needs of our global customers."

The lithium titanate chemistry is effective at quickly recharging, works well in a wide range of temperatures and can be easily integrated into a vehicle's 12-volt electrical system. Toshiba, with its SCiB technology, is the established market leader for lithium Titanate.

"Toshiba is pleased to work with Johnson Controls to supply SCiB cells for this application," said Shun Egusa, general manager of Toshiba's automotive business. "The opportunity to support global automakers with their goal of improving vehicle efficiency is an important part of our strategy and vision."

An Advanced Start-Stop system has two batteries. A 12V Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) or Enhanced Flooded Battery (EFB), which will start the engine and supply power to accessories such as lights, navigation systems and radios. The 12V lithium titanate battery will primarily accept and store regenerative braking energy during vehicle deceleration, enabling greater power and load management capabilities.

However, the hybrid battery system as currently configured, paves the way for eventual elimination of lead-acid technology, perhaps substitution the lead acid component with a supercapacitor, experts told BEST magazine

"With an Advanced Start-Stop system, drivers could save up to 8 percent every time they fill up their gas tank as the batteries enable the engine to shut off more frequently and for longer periods of time," said Bahash. "This is also a great solution for our customers because the technology allows for greater fuel savings without major changes to the existing powertrain and electrical systems."

ILA Managing Director, Dr Andy Bush, said: “The announcement of this new type of 12V battery by JCI further demonstrates that alternative battery technologies require a lead-based battery to work alongside them in start-stop and mild hybrid electric vehicles. The essential nature of lead-based batteries was one of the points that was made to the EU Commission by the European, Japanese and Korean automotive associations, along with EUROBAT and ILA, in their submissions to the review of the End-of-Life-Vehicle (ELV) Directive calling for a further exemption for lead-based batteries within the wider ban on lead in light-duty vehicles.”

The 12V battery systems will be produced starting in 2018.

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