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Johnson Controls Brings AGM Batteries to North America

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Johnson Controls is launching a line of absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries in North America to support up-and-coming start-stop vehicle technology, as well as the higher electrical loads that are increasingly being required of the battery in newer vehicles with combustion engines.

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“With continuously increasing power requirements in cars and trucks, the battery has taken on a more important role,” said Allen Martin, vice president and general manager global aftermarket for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “Our proven AGM battery technology is designed to meet and exceed automaker and consumer requirements, providing the latest technological developments available in batteries today.”

Johnson Controls, which has been manufacturing AGM batteries in Europe since 2002, produces more than 3 million Varta Start-Stop Plus AGM batteries annually to supply the rapidly growing start-stop market.  The company has started producing AGM batteries for the United States at its facility in St. Joseph’s, Mo., and will launch manufacturing later this year at its newly expanded facility near Toledo, Ohio.

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“We’re installing approximately 6 million in AGM annual capacity for the U.S. market. Our estimates suggest that up to 40 percent of new cars being built the United States by 2016 could be start-stop vehicles requiring AGM batteries, in addition to the growing number of conventional vehicles that require a more robust battery” said Mike Carr, vice president and general manager North America for Johnson Controls Power Solutions.

Because some start-stop vehicles require special processes to replace and reset the battery and system, Johnson Controls developed its Varta start-stop Service Program (VSSP) in Europe, and plans to bring a similar program to the United States.  The VSSP program provides workshops with the necessary training, information and equipment to allow technicians to test the battery, examine relevant control modules, delete error codes, reset the memory and read replacement instructions as they go.

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“While AGM batteries are designed to easily fit today’s cars, they do have special requirements for installing and resetting when used in start-stop vehicle systems. Our VSSP program will help service technicians properly link the batteries with the on-board electronics,” said Martin.

Johnson Controls’ AGM batteries are engineered to extend the life and improve performance of the battery. This includes a reinforced plastic case, a unique venting system that better maintains the seal over life, increased charge acceptance on the negative grid and higher density material on the positive grid to improve cycling.

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AGM batteries to meet European sizes (H6, H7, H8) are available today. Group 31 commercial truck batteries will launch in July, with U.S.-focused car and light truck group sizes 24F, 34, 65 and 78 slated for late summer and early fall.


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