Johnson Controls Automotive Seating Sponsors Ohio State University’s Innovative EcoCAR 2 Competition Entry

Supplier supports students working to reduce environmental impact

PLYMOUTH, Mich., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Johnson Controls Automotive Seating, a global leader in automotive seating and seat components, is supporting the next generation of vehicle designers as the seating sponsor of Ohio State University’s (OSU) EcoCAR 2 entry.

Established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors, EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future is a three-year collegiate engineering competition that challenges university students from across the country to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles without compromising real-world performance or safety.

Johnson Controls is supplying custom seats for the OSU team’s vehicle.

“We are proud to be a part of this innovative program and its mission to provide hands-on, real-world experience to the next generation of automotive designers,” said Eric Michalak, chief engineer for Johnson Controls Automotive Seating who is leading Johnson Controls’ EcoCAR team. “As the seating sponsor, we are responsible for conceptualizing, designing and building eco-friendly seats that showcase some of our innovative sustainable products.”

Key features of the seats, designed and developed by Johnson Controls, for OSU’s EcoCAR 2 include:

  • 100 percent recyclable polyester fabric
  • Eco-thread stitching
  • Eco-adhesive lamination
  • Natural dyes to create a customized printed design
  • Lightweight soy-based foam
  • Bio-plastic side and back panels

Johnson Controls’ seats also feature a tablet and accessory attachment that easily connects portable consumer electronic devices to the back of the front-seat headrests for viewing by rear-seat passengers.

The EcoCAR 2 competition challenges students from 15 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, donated by General Motors, without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.

The vehicles debuted this month at General Motors’ proving grounds in Arizona.

EcoCAR 2 builds upon the 23-year history of DOE Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions that exemplify the power of public/private partnerships in providing experience and training to those entering the North American job market. EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future follows EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition first held in 2009.

During the three-year program, EcoCAR 2 teams follow a real-world Vehicle Development Process (VDP) modeled after GM’s VDP. The VDP serves as a roadmap for the engineering process of designing, building and refining the advanced technology of vehicles.

The team from OSU is composed of 35 undergraduate and graduate students who have majors in various fields from mechanical engineering to photography. 

About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience:
Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities. With 240 locations worldwide, we are where our customers need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products, from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability, we supply approximately 50 million cars per year.

About Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 168,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2013, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #14 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. For additional information, please visit

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Mary Kay Dodero

SOURCE Johnson Controls