Subtitle: And SAIC gets the lithium
Johnson Controls-Saft is supplying batteries to two Chinese automakers—Chery and SAIC. Green Car Congress tells us that the Chery A5 ISG hybrid will use NiMH batteries from Johnson Controls-Saft. Chery plans to begin sales of the hybrid A5 ISG sedan to be launched in the latter half of this year, according to an 1earlier GCC report2.
The A5 ISG, as introduced at the 2006 Ninth Beijing International Auto Exhibition, is a parallel hybrid with an all-electric capability at start-up or speeds below 40 kph (25 mph). The hybrid combines a Chery ACTECO 1.3-liter engine with a permanent magnet synchronous motor and a five-speed automatic transmission to deliver the performance of the conventional 1.6-liter A5 model (A516), but with improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.
In the first phase of the Chery contract, the NiMH cells will be manufactured in France, development work will be carried out in the US, and battery integration will take place in China. Johnson Controls-Saft has an engineering and manufacturing facility in Shanghai.
Nevertheless, the emerging market is with Li-ion batteries. While an established battery manufacturer, lithium ion is a “new energy” product for the company.
Johnson Controls-Saft is supplying lithium-ion batteries to SAIC for use in its demonstration fleet of new energy vehicles. The Li-ion battery systems will be produced in the US, and will be in the vehicles early this year.
At Auto Shanghai 2007, SAIC brought two types of new energy vehicles: a hybrid based on the Roewe 750 and a fourth-generation fuel cell car, branded the “Shanghai”.
According to GCC commentator Harvey D., China already has the major world battery producers. It is thus intriguing that the Chinese car makers are shopping elsewhere. They also have the greatest supply of lithium in the world. Harvey D. projects that PHEV/BEV batteries could be mass produced in China at 1/3 our cost or less. “The same applies to control sub-systems and electric drive motors.”
I wouldn’t worry too much about quality. The world market will quickly decide which vehicles are the best buy. Look what happened with Japanese and Korean vehicles in the last 25 years?
He concludes, “In the few years we will take to produce concept electrified vehicles, China could effectively produce many million of them.” Perhaps, China wants to accelerate a switch to electrified vehicles much faster than we seem to want to do. And, by bringing their business to foreign companies, they increase the availability of electric drive components worldwide, potentially fostering more rapid adoption in the vendor nations. Or, perhaps it is simply a matter of gaining greater expertise in the manufacturing process. Too soon to tell.
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1Johnson Controls-Saft Supplying NiMH and Li-ion Batteries for Chery and SAIC Hybrids 2Chery Introduces New Hybrid for China
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