Johnson Controls plans fourth battery plant in China

New facility to open in 2019

Johnson Controls Inc. headquarters
The Johnson Controls Inc. operational headquarters in Glendale.

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. plans to open a fourth automotive battery plant in China as part of a joint venture with Binzhou Bohai Piston Co. Ltd., an affiliate of Beijing Automotive Industry Group Co.

A signing ceremony for the joint venture between Johnson Controls and Binzhou Bohai Piston Co.
A signing ceremony for the joint venture between Johnson Controls and Binzhou Bohai Piston Co.

The $200 million facility will be located in Binzhou, Shandong Province and employ 650 people at full capacity. It will be used to manufacture conventional flooded and absorbent glass mat, or AGM, batteries. The AGM technology is used to power start-stop systems, which increase fuel efficiency.

“We understand China market dynamics, consumer demands and both short- and long-term energy storage technology needs,” said Joe Walicki, Johnson Controls Power Solutions president. “This joint venture is a strategic move to position Johnson Controls and Bohai Piston to take advantage of what will be the world’s largest automotive battery market by 2020.”

Roughly half of all new vehicles, about 15 million, in China are expected to be equipped with start-stop technology by 2020. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in 2017, with production beginning in 2019. At full capacity, the plant will produce 7.5 million batteries per day.

“Johnson Controls remains committed to serving our customers wherever they are in the world with investments such as this manufacturing plant and joint venture, which brings our leading technologies and global best practices to China,” said Trent Nevill, president, Johnson Controls Asia Pacific.

Johnson Controls entered the Chinese battery market in 2005 and currently has two manufacturing facilities in the country. The company announced last year it would build a third facility that is expected to open in 2018.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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