Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions announced on Jan. 31 the official opening of its new lithium-ion automotive battery manufacturing facility. The plant, based in Nersac, France, will manufacture advanced lithium-ion batteries for hybrid, plug-in, fuel cell and electric vehicles and is the first of its kind in the world, according to the companies.

"This manufacturing facility demonstrates our ongoing commitment to hybrid technology," said Mary Ann Wright who leads the joint venture and is vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls' hybrid battery business. "We are the first company to produce the batteries for the automotive industry and have recently announced a number of production and development contracts."

Johnson Controls-Saft initially invested 15 million euros in the facility, which is producing batteries for global automotive customers. It has been built to be scaleable, so that as demand increases it can increase production capacity to meet customer and market demands.

In addition to the plant in Nersac, Johnson Controls-Saft has research and development centers in Milwaukee, Minn. and Bordeaux, France; as well as system engineering, testing and integration centers in Milwaukee, Minn. Hanover, Germany; and Shanghai, China.

Johnson Controls-Saft is a joint venture between Johnson Controls -- a supplier of automotive batteries and a company experienced in integrated automotive systems solutions -- with Saft, an advanced energy storage solutions provider with extensive Li-ion battery expertise.