In some models, the electric motor can completely fuel the car for short distances at speeds under 30 miles per hour.
So, what's stopping hybrid advancement? The batteries running the electric motor have yet to be mass-produced and accepted by consumers.
Today, hybrid vehicles use nickel metal hydride batteries. Gas mileage cannot improve further until more powerful, lighter batteries become roadworthy.
The future lies in Johnson Controls Inc. and their lithium-ion batteries. Lithium is the third lightest element, so lithium-ion batteries can pack power without compromising trunk space or vehicle weight.
However, lithium-ion batteries are not widely available. More fuel-efficient cars cannot hit the roads until manufacturers produce lithium-ion batteries on a larger scale.
Here, the future is at hand. Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions recently opened the world's first lithium-ion automotive battery facility in Nersac, France.
Johnson Controls-Saft is a joint venture that has brought together Johnson Controls - the world's leading supplier of automotive batteries and a company deeply experienced in integrated automotive systems solutions - with Saft, an advanced energy-storage solutions provider with extensive Li-ion battery expertise.
The facility will supply global Original Equipment customers, including current production for the 2009 Mercedes Benz S-Class, the first lithium-ion hybrid to go into mass production.
Johnson Controls is taking notice of legislation and its importance in advancing the hybrid and advanced-energy storage market in the U.S. and globally.
Recently, Johnson Controls has presented congressional testimony on battery-energy storage and has maintained a dialogue with the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address industry challenges.
For more information about lithium-ion technology, visit www.johnsoncontrols.com.