Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) Showcases Re3 Concept Car At 2009 North American International Auto Show, Will Team Up With Ford On Battery

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10:40:07 am on January 12, 2009

Johnson Controls is showcasing its Re3 concept car at the 2009 North American International Auto Show today. The Re3 is a small car, designed to be both fuel efficient and appealing to consumers. From the company’s press release, here are some of the features of the Re3:

— A plug-in hybrid battery system that allows generous seating for five adults in the vehicle;

— New, class-leading storage capacity in the instrument panel, enabled by the company’s Ecospace technology;

— An "extended cluster," which includes a traditional gauge cluster, along with a 7-inch color, touch panel display;

— A seat-wing armrest and controller on the driver’s seat, enabling some of the controls to be moved from the center stack to the seat;

— A conversational seating arrangement, offering new ways to interact in the interior, as well as Slim Seating and rear, stadium-style folding seats; and

— Eco-friendly, renewable materials with "natural look" finishes throughout the interior.

The press release also quotes Jeff Williams, group vice president and general manager, North America for the Automotive Experience business of Johnson Controls:

"Our re3 concept shows how we can redesign and improve the interior of a small vehicle to meet the needs of consumers while adding tremendous value for our customer. People want smaller vehicles with better fuel economy, eco-friendly materials and the luxuries and utility that make the driving experience enjoyable, and the re3 is a great demonstration of our ability to help meet these needs through innovation."

Finally, in other Johnson Controls-Saft news, the company is working with Ford to provide lithium-ion batteries for a Ford Escape Hybrid Demonstration Fleet.  Mary Ann Wright, vice president and general manager of the hybrid battery department,  states that the collaboration is valuable because of the amount of information the company will receive:

"This will give us so much first-hand information, and not all that information will be strictly technical," Wright said. "How will people feel about driving an electric car? What are the driving trends? Will it be used as a primary vehicle, or one they’ll just use to drive short distances to do errands? This is all part of that bigger picture." The research translates into progress and success, Wright said, not only for Johnson Controls-Saft, but for the country. "We want to do business with Ford," she said. "We want to build new industry and see the U.S. solidify its technology leadership position."

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