When Ford handed over the keys to a plug-in Escape hybrid to Southern California Edison last December, one of many secrets the companies kept to themselves was which battery maker was responsible for the lithium-ion batteries fulfilling the electric part of the equation. The company has now been revealed and it's Johnson Controls-Saft, which has a dedicated li-ion battery plant in France. Johnson Controls will be providing the li-ion batteries for all of the PHEV Escapes for Ford's demonstration fleet (including those at the Electric Power Research Institute) as it grows from the one or two on the road today to 20 in the coming year and a half. More PHEV Escapes will be delivered to the utilities later this month, and future versions will be tweaked and updated as data comes in from the daily drives. More from Ford after the jump.

Press Release:

Johnson Controls-Saft Named as Battery Supplier for Ford Test Fleet of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

MILWAUKEE, June 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As increasing numbers of consumers look for fuel-efficient, low emission vehicle options, a test fleet of Ford Escape plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is making its way on the road today. Powered by lithium-ion batteries from Johnson Controls-Saft, the demonstration fleet will examine the future of PHEVs as part of a complete vehicle, home and grid energy system. The fleet is the result of an ongoing collaboration among Ford, Johnson Controls-Saft, Southern California Edison (SCE) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

"This fleet demonstrates a major step forward toward validating plug-in hybrid vehicle technology," said Mary Ann Wright, who leads the Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture and is vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls' hybrid battery business. "PHEVs, which have the ability to drive an extended range on electric-only power, can significantly reduce emissions and improve fuel economy."

The 20-vehicle fleet will be tested first in California by SCE and later by other utilities in the New York/ New Jersey area, to help determine regional differences in vehicle usage and performance, as well as how PHEVs will affect the electric grid system and associated infrastructure requirements. The first unit was delivered to California in December; additional units will be on the road in June.

The outcome of the fleet will help to continue to address barriers to commercialization including cost, technology validation, and strategies for charging the vehicles.

"PHEVs have great promise, but we are still working to fully address all of the technical and business challenges that stand in the way of commercialization," said Nancy Gioia, director of Sustainable Mobility Technologies at Ford Motor Company. "Ultimately such vehicles must provide real value to consumers, utilities, automakers and suppliers."

PHEVs are part of a family of electric-drive technologies that could play an important role in achieving national objectives of energy security and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing fuel costs.

The research and analysis of the demonstration fleet will include data from four primary areas: battery technology, vehicle systems, customer usage, and grid infrastructure. The analysis will also explore possible stationary and secondary usages for advanced batteries. The combined expertise of the partners in this project -- Ford, Johnson Controls-Saft, SCE and EPRI -- is designed to advance a greater understanding of a vehicle, home and grid energy system.

Johnson Controls-Saft is a joint venture that has brought together Johnson Controls -- the world's leading supplier of automotive batteries and a company deeply experienced in integrated automotive systems solutions -- with Saft, an advanced energy storage solutions provider with extensive Li-ion battery expertise.

About Saft

Saft (Euronext : Saft) is a world specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry. Saft batteries are used in high performance applications such as industrial infrastructure and processes, transportation, space and defense. Saft is the world's leading manufacturer of nickel-cadmium batteries for industrial applications and of primary lithium batteries for a wide range of end markets. The group is also the European leader for specialized advanced technologies for the defense and space industries. With approximately 3,800 employees worldwide, Saft is present in 18 countries. Its 18 manufacturing sites and extensive sales network enable the group to serve its customers worldwide. For more information, visit Saft at http://www.saftbatteries.com/

About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) is the global leader that brings ingenuity to the places where people live, work and travel. By integrating technologies, products and services, we create smart environments that redefine the relationships between people and their surroundings. Our team of 140,000 employees creates a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world through our products and services for more than 200 million vehicles, 12 million homes and one million commercial buildings. Our commitment to sustainability drives our environmental stewardship, good corporate citizenship in our workplaces and communities, and the products and services we provide to customers. For additional information, please visit http://www.johnsoncontrols.com/.

About Ford

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, United States, manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 230,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information about Ford's products, please visit http://www.ford.com/.

[Source: Johnson Controls]


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