Johnson Controls and Saft Form Joint HEV Battery Venture

October 10, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Johnson Controls Inc. (Milwaukee, WI) and Saft (France), a manufacturer of specialized batteries for industrial and defense applications, announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture for advanced technology batteries to accelerate their participation in the hybrid vehicle market. The joint venture will develop, manufacture, and sell, on an exclusive basis, nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and EVs globally. The companies expect the joint venture agreement to be finalized in early 2006, and will commence joint sales and marketing activities immediately.

The new joint venture will provide global automakers with expanded sourcing options and production capacity for NiMH battery systems. Each company is also contributing complementary capabilities to the development and commercialization of next-generation Li-Ion battery systems. The two companies will combine their development teams within existing locations, and will invest in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in line with demand.

"Johnson Controls’ established, long-term relationships with global automakers as a Tier 1 supplier, and Saft’s advanced battery technologies combined with the strong research, development, and engineering capabilities of both companies, will put the new joint venture in a unique position to compete in the hybrid vehicle market," stated Saft Chief Executive Officer John Searle.

Johnson Controls’ Group Vice President and General Manager Gregg Sherrill said, "Saft’s expertise with high-performance advanced battery technologies greatly complements our high-volume manufacturing capabilities and our automotive knowledge. By working together, we will be able to provide industry-leading batteries for the HEV market globally."