Johnson Controls to invest $245 million for North American battery production

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Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. plans to invest $245 million by 2020 in doubling North American production capacity for its absorbent glass mat batteries.

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

The batteries, which help power increasing electrical loads in vehicles while also improving fuel efficiency, are used in stop-start systems. Increasing environmental regulations are expected to result in stop-start technology being put in 50 percent of North American vehicles by 2020.

Joe Walicki, Johnson Controls Power Solutions president, said the company is investing more than $780 million in AGM manufacturing capacity between 2015 and 2020. The company announced last week it would be building a $200 million facility in China, its fourth battery production facility in the country.

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“Johnson Controls is the leader in battery manufacturing and we are committed to investing in our factories, our employees and our customers, to ensure that we remain the leader when it comes to innovative technology, quality products and strong customer partnerships,” Walicki said.

The company’s power solutions segment has 24 facilities in the United States and Mexico. It began producing AGM batteries in the U.S. in 2012 and has invested $130 million in production through August 2015.

Johnson Controls is also funding research into battery technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and supports a professor at UW-Milwaukee.

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The company did not indicate where the investment would be directed. Previous investments have been directed toward the Toledo, Ohio facility. The facilities in the Milwaukee area are not production oriented, but research and development is conducted at them.

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