Jan 182011

Johnson Controls' ie:3 demonstrator car

The “ie” in the car’s name stands for “Inspired Efficiency,”

Of the various vehicles that were displayed at this month’s Detroit Auto Show, undoubtedly the biggest crowds were drawn to the cars with the most striking exteriors – witness the Porsche 918 RSR, for instance.

Given that we drive our cars from the inside, however, isn’t the interior what’s most important? That’s what Johnson Controls seems to believe, as its ie:3 demonstrator vehicle showcased a number of the company’s innovations for vehicle interiors. According to Michael Warsaw, Johnson’s VP of Industrial Design and Marketing for North America, “Everything that you’ll see in this vehicle is ready for the next generation of automobiles.”

The “ie” in the car’s name stands for “Inspired Efficiency,” and the conversions made to the unassuming Kia Soul were done almost entirely in the name of maximizing cargo space and ergonomics, and minimizing weight.

Cargo space

As with some existing vehicles, the ie:3’s back seats and front passenger seat fold forward completely flat, allowing for cargo to be lain down inside the vehicle all the way from the liftback to the dash. Those same seats also have bottom sections that fold up against their backs completely flat, for loading shorter (but perhaps taller) items in through the side doors and onto the floor.

To demonstrate how its technology could be applied specifically to electric vehicles, Johnson Controls also equipped the ie:3 with its Saft lithium-ion prismatic cells. These flat, low-profile batteries are located along the length of the vehicle, underneath its floor, where they take up a minimum amount of interior space.

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