Johnson Controls (JC) rolled out its ie:3 demonstrator at this year's Detroit Auto Show. The ie:3, which showcases JC's six-inch thick 23-kWh lithium ion battery pack in the hollowed-out shell of a Kia Soul, demonstrates that electric vehicles need not sacrifice interior space to accommodate for a needlessly oversized power supply. The ie:3's li-ion battery, which features 216 prismatic cells, is positioned in a manner that allows for a completely flat interior layout, but JC claims it is powerful enough to provide 100 miles of range. Additionally, the ie:3's seats fold flat, adding to the vehicle's versatility by creating a significant amount of cargo room.
The IE in ie:3 stands for Inspired Efficiency, and the 3 means there are three main benefits to the design: delighting buyers, allowing automakers to differentiate their products and expanding sustainability. All that may be more a bit of marketing fluff, but there's at least some substance to the claims. For instance, the single-piece stamped seats save lots of space, allowing the reclining rear seats to be mounted higher than the fronts. Also notable is the so-called FaserTec seat pads that are made from natural fibers and are easily recyclable.
More innovation can be found in the vehicle's headliner, which acts as a large speaker that frees up storage space where the door-mounted speakers would normally be found. However, perhaps the coolest bit of tech is the Human Machine Interface, consisting of a transparent heads-up display that rises from the dash, a 6.5-inch transflective display that doesn't wash out in direct sunlight and another 8.8-inch central display that can be controlled either through a touch interface or a haptic controller mounted on a sliding rail between the two front seats.
It's all pretty impressive, and, despite the fact that it's got so much technology baked in (plus an entire battery pack under the floor), Johnson Controls has still managed to substantially increase interior space. Does the ie:3 typify the future of electric vehicles? Hit up the high-res image gallery of JC's concept and drop a comment below.
Autoblog's Jeremy Korzeniewski contributed to this report.
[Source: Johnson Controls]
The Johnson Controls ie:3 Concept Car Demonstrates the Future of Automotive Interior and Battery Solutions
Company highlights its wide-ranging capabilities in seating, interiors, electronics and batteries
Automakers seek interior and battery solutions that improve flexibility, spaciousness and sustainability in their vehicles while offering a compelling user experience for consumers. At the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Johnson Controls unveiled the ie:3 demonstrator vehicle, a fully electric vehicle based on the popular small car segment that addresses these needs.
The ie:3 features the debut of Johnson Controls-Saft's next-generation, low-profile lithium-ion battery pack. It is a unique, self-contained system that is integrated easily into the vehicle in a small space under the floor. The new prismatic format cell achieves greater packaging efficiency and uses less space in the vehicle.
"Consumers want all the space they enjoy in today's vehicles, but with the peace of mind that their all electric vehicle can get them the distance they need to go," said Alex Molinaroli, president for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "This next generation technology allows for both."
The improved spaciousness enabled by the packaging of the battery offers designers and engineers a flat floor that provides additional options to enhance overall flexibility in the vehicle. For example, the ie:3 features "stadium seating" which when deployed in the front row, offers enough space to stow a suitcase. The rear seats easily fold flat to the floor, creating even more storage options. A center console is spacious enough to accommodate a large handbag.
"With the ie:3, we wanted to provide interior and battery solutions for smaller, fuel efficient vehicles without compromising functionality, comfort or spaciousness," said Beda Bolzenius, president for Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. "The features and functions in the ie:3 are adaptable to markets around the world and are available for model-year 2015 and beyond."
Some of the innovations developed by Johnson Controls – and featured in the ie:3 – include:
•Energy supplied by new, lithium-ion prismatic cells packaged neatly in a small space under the flat floor as a complete system, enabling a target 100-mile range per charge.
•Improved spaciousness and flexibility enabled by fold flat and "stadium seating" features; and
•Seat pads made from natural fibers that are easier to recycle.
•An innovative, lightweight alternative sound system, featuring a headliner with integrated audio that enables increased storage opportunities in vehicle doors; and
•Unique LED lighting that enhances the overall interior ambiance.
•A comprehensive driver information system featuring a 6.5-inch "transflective" cluster display, which improves visibility even with the glare of sunlight, and a transparent, integrated heads up display.
About Johnson Controls:
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in over 150 countries. Our 137,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. For additional information, please visit http://www.johnsoncontrols.com.
About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience:
Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities. With more than 200 plants worldwide, we are where our customers need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products, from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability we supply more than 30 million cars per year.
About Johnson Controls Power Solutions:
Johnson Controls Power Solutions is the global leader in lead-acid starter batteries, advanced lead-acid batteries for Start-Stop vehicles and Lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. Our 35 manufacturing facilities supply more than one third of the world's lead-acid batteries to major auto makers and aftermarket retailers. Through our innovations we are building the advanced battery industry for hybrid and electric vehicles. Our joint venture, Johnson Controls-Saft, is the first company in the world to produce lithium-ion batteries for mass production hybrid vehicles. Our commitment to sustainability is evidenced by our world-class technology, manufacturing and recycling capabilities.