US-based battery giant Johnson Controls (JCI) plans to set up two new plants – with a combined annual capacity of 13.5 million batteries – in China.
JCI plans to ramp up its output of batteries to consolidate its leading position in the stop-start system sector in the country, the South China Morning Post reported.
JCI’s two lead-acid battery factories in Chongqing and Zhejiang provinces can jointly produce 16 million batteries a year.
The firm is now teaming up with Beijing-based BAIC Motor to establish a $250 million manufacturing plant with a capacity of 7.5 million batteries in Shandong Province. It is expected to start production in 2019. The other new plant, in northern China, is likely to come on stream the following year.
Kenneth Yeng, chief executive of Johnson Controls’ power solution operations in China, said JCI’s production of AGM batteries was expected to reach 3 million units this year and the firm has a 70% share of the market.
“We will continue to see growth in the Chinese market,” Yeng said. “As the country steps up efforts to cut overcapacity, advanced products such as start-stop batteries will stand out as they create more added value for manufacturers.”
Yeng also confirmed that Great Wall Motors, a Chinese automobile manufacturer, has become one of Johnson Controls’ new customers of its stop-start technology.
In the interview, Yeng said: “In the next five to 10 years, start-stop batteries still have a rosy prospect in China before electric cars gain in popularity… Fossil fuel vehicles will still dominate the auto market.”