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Johnson Controls Concept Car Demonstrates Future Interior, Battery Tech

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Automakers seek interior and battery solutions that improve flexibility, spaciousness and sustainability in their vehicles while offering a compelling user experience for consumers. At the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Johnson Controls unveiled the ie:3 demonstrator vehicle, a fully electric vehicle based on the popular small car segment that addresses these needs.

The ie:3 features the debut of Johnson Controls-Saft’s next-generation, low-profile lithium-ion battery pack. It is a unique, self-contained system that is integrated easily into the vehicle in a small space under the floor. The new prismatic format cell achieves greater packaging efficiency and uses less space in the vehicle.

“Consumers want all the space they enjoy in today’s vehicles, but with the peace of mind that their all electric vehicle can get them the distance they need to go,” said Alex Molinaroli, president for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “This next generation technology allows for both.”

The improved spaciousness enabled by the packaging of the battery offers designers and engineers a flat floor that provides additional options to enhance overall flexibility in the vehicle. For example, the ie:3 features “stadium seating” which when deployed in the front row, offers enough space to stow a suitcase. The rear seats easily fold flat to the floor, creating even more storage options. A center console is spacious enough to accommodate a large handbag.

“With the ie:3, we wanted to provide interior and battery solutions for smaller, fuel efficient vehicles without compromising functionality, comfort or spaciousness,” said Beda Bolzenius, president for Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. “The features and functions in the ie:3 are adaptable to markets around the world and are available for model-year 2015 and beyond.”

Some of the innovations developed by Johnson Controls – and featured in the ie:3 – include:

*Energy supplied by new, lithium-ion prismatic cells packaged neatly in a small space under the flat floor as a complete system, enabling a target 100-mile range per charge.

* Improved spaciousness and flexibility enabled by fold flat and “stadium seating” features and seat pads made from natural fibers that are easier to recycle.

* A lightweight alternative sound system, featuring a headliner with integrated audio that enables increased storage opportunities in vehicle doors and unique LED lighting that enhances the overall interior ambiance.

* A comprehensive driver information system featuring a 6.5-inch “transflective” cluster display, which improves visibility even with the glare of sunlight, and a transparent, integrated heads up display.

Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls’ automotive division is based in Plymouth. More at www.johnsoncontrols.com.

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