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Johnson Controls Debuts Line of 'Smart' Batteries with IQ Control

4 January 1999

Johnson Controls Debuts Line of 'Smart' Batteries with IQ Control At the 1999 North American International Auto Show

Company's Innovative Dual-Battery System Offers Packaging Flexibility, Cranking Power and Extended Life

The Inspira(TM) dual-battery system from Johnson Controls is an ultra-compact electricity source that will bring revolutionary changes to car power systems. [PH]
DETROIT, Jan. 3 -- While vehicle designs have dramatically changed over the years, the heavy, bulky, 12-volt battery found under the hood has changed little during the past few decades. However, with the development of Johnson Controls' "smart" batteries with IQ(TM) Control, this will soon change. The most revolutionary product in this line of batteries is an innovative, dual-battery system with Inspira(TM) technology. IQ Control is an electronic control module for smart battery features, that can offer starting protection, as well as anti-theft and power-management functions.

Making its production-ready debut this week at the 1999 North American International Auto Show -- and available for 2001 model-year vehicles -- the Inspira dual-battery system weighs up to 40 percent less and provides 25 percent more cranking power than conventional batteries. The battery system consists of a small battery used for starting the vehicle, and a reserve battery that powers vehicle accessories.

Due to its incredibly small size and lower weight -- just four inches tall and less than six pounds -- the Inspira battery can be packaged in a wheel well, instrument panel or under a seat. The reserve battery -- which provides power to operate vehicle accessories -- can be placed in a trunk or rear storage area. This packaging flexibility removes the batteries from high temperatures under the hood, helping to extend battery life while freeing up valuable "under-hood" space at the same time.

"Each battery in the system is optimized for its specific function -- cranking or cycling -- to provide superior performance," said Doug Brown, vice president of battery sales and marketing for Johnson Controls. "Another advantage of the dual-battery system is its start protection capability. If interior accessories are left on and drain the reserve battery, the starting battery goes 'off-line' to retain its power."

According to Brown, once the vehicle is started, its alternator will then recharge the entire battery system.

To provide consumers with additional vehicle security, this dual-battery system can be equipped with an optional anti-theft feature. This prevents the battery from providing engine-cranking power, unless it receives an access code from the vehicle owner.

Unlike traditional batteries -- which are filled with acid that circulates through thickly-pasted metal grids -- the Inspira starting battery gets its power from two paper-thin sheets of pasted lead foil. They are separated by an absorbent glass mat and rolled into a tight spiral. The glass mat works like a blotter, soaking up the acid and bringing it into contact with the positive and negative plates.

The thin, solid lead foil provides up to 20 times more surface area while the rolled design brings the plates and acid into close contact -- reducing the electrical current path by 20 to 100 times. Each Inspira battery contains six spiral rolls and is sealed in a small, leak-proof, hard plastic case. Johnson Controls holds 23 U.S. patents for its Inspira technology. It is an effective size and weight solution to new "state-of-the-art" automotive systems and components that require higher voltage. These systems include electric steering, brakes and valve trains. Since the 12-volt Inspira battery will be available in three sizes (2.4, 4.5 and 6.5 amp hours), any quantity or size can be combined in a series to create a 36-volt, 42-volt or any other, high-voltage battery system.

"Currently we're working with most of the world's major automotive manufacturers to begin using Inspira in 12-volt and/or 36-volt dual-battery systems," Brown said. "These systems are expected to be available in high- volume production for automakers in 2000 -- when the 2001 model-year vehicles make their debut. The Inspira system will be available in the aftermarket at that time as well."

The Plymouth, Michigan-based automotive business of Johnson Controls -- which employs more than 57,000 people at 275 facilities worldwide -- achieved US$9.3 billion in sales for the 1998 fiscal year. In the 1999 model year, the company will supply interior products for more than 22 million vehicles. Johnson Controls, Inc. is a global market leader in automotive systems and facility management and control. In the automotive market, it is a major supplier of seating and interior systems, and batteries. For non- residential facilities, Johnson Controls provides building control systems and services, energy management and integrated facility management. Johnson Controls, founded in 1885, has headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its sales for 1998 totaled US$12.6 billion.

For access to other Johnson Controls news releases and additional company information, visit the company's site on the World Wide Web at