21 Aug Dodge fleet to carry Johnson Controls' plug-in hybrid car batteries
Milwaukee, Wis. – In an effort to usher in a new age of fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly transportation, Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls and Dodge have announced that a fleet of Dodge Sprinter plug-in hybrid delivery vans soon will be operating within the United States.
The vans will be powered by Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries developed by Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions (JCS). The Dodge Sprinter plug-in hybrids will be placed in multiple locations within the U.S., exposing the technology to different drive cycles and perhaps yielding information that can be used to develop the next generation of Lithium-ion batteries.
The companies announced their fleet plan following a successful first phase of Chrysler and Daimler’s plug-in hybrid development program, which began in 2006. Sprinter plug-in hybrids were put into service in several large markets, including Los Angeles, New York, and Kansas City.
The vehicles, powered by Johnson Controls-Saft nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and Li-ion battery packs, provided valuable data to accelerate the development of future battery technology.
Close to commerce
Mary Ann Wright, who leads the JCS joint venture and is vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls’ hybrid battery business, said in a release that advances in Lithium-ion battery technology are bringing plug-in hybrids closer to commercialization.
According to Johnson Controls, the Li-ion battery packs in Sprinter plug-in hybrids will be 47 percent lighter compared to previous NiMH systems and deliver more power than conventional hybrid batteries.
The ultimate goal, however, goes well beyond hybrid batteries. Wright said advanced battery technology is the “single most important enabler” in making all types of electric vehicles practical. Plug-in hybrids can travel much farther on emission-free electric power than conventional hybrids, and are well-suited for urban delivery vehicles operating in heavy traffic and making frequent stops.
Although very large battery packs are needed to store the electric energy for daily use, plug-ins can be charged overnight using less-expensive off-peak electricity.
“Plug-in hybrids, conventional hybrids, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will benefit from Lithium-ion technology,” Wright said.
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